While we all know that countries like Denmark and the United States abolished slavery over 150 years ago, it still exists in our societies today. Nowadays slavery is hidden from plain sight. In western countries – and in many other countries – people working under slavelike conditions are often from other countries. They are trafficked. Often sold by people in their home countries or simply tricked by traffickers who then hold on to their passports or other documents.
Victims, not criminals
Victims of trafficking are forced into many kinds of work. A recent report from the Danish Center mod menneskehandel revealed that victims of trafficking in Denmark are primarily forced into prostitution or stealing/burglary. That report also showed that the number of people believed to be trafficked is higher in 2015 than ever before. The report came out almost simultaneously as the Department of State’s 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report).
The TIP Report is the product of a yearlong effort requiring contributions and follow-up from employees in the United States and at our diplomatic outposts across the globe, host country governments, and civil society. That effort is well worth it, because this Report is one of the best means we have to speak up for men, women, and children who lack any effective platform to be heard themselves. Because of its credibility, the Report is also a source of validation and inspiration to activists on every continent who are striving to end the scourge of human trafficking and modern day slavery.
The purpose of this Report is to enlighten, energize, and empower. That’s why it incorporates the insights of NGOs, advocates, and survivors with firsthand experience of this horrific crime. By issuing it, we want to bring to the public’s attention the full nature and scope of the $150 billion illicit human trafficking industry. We want to provide evidence and facts that will help people who are already working to achieve reforms and alleviate suffering. And we want to provide a strong incentive for governments at every level to do all they can to prevent and prosecute trafficking, identify and support victims, and shield at-risk populations.
Each year the report looks at all countries in the world, ranks them and gives recommendations on how to better combat human trafficking. he U.S. Government uses the TIP Report to engage foreign governments in dialogues to advance anti-trafficking reforms and to combat trafficking and to target resources on prevention, protection and prosecution programs. Worldwide, the report is used by international organizations, foreign governments, and nongovernmental organizations alike as a tool to examine where resources are most needed. Freeing victims, preventing trafficking, and bringing traffickers to justice are the ultimate goals of the report and of the U.S Government’s anti-human trafficking policy.
You can read the evaluation of and recommendations for Denmark in English or in Danish (PDF 70KB). We welcome your feedback and questions on this matter. Feel free to contact us on CopenhagenIRC@State.gov or on Facebook or Twitter.