March 31st, 2011
09:50 AM ET

How you can help: Sweden and Denmark reports

Although Sweden and Denmark have seemingly opposite prostitution laws - the former strictly outlawing the purchase of sex and the latter legalizing the industry - these countries have one thing in common: both are destination points for victims of human trafficking forced into prostitution.

While Sweden’s prostitution laws have obtained encouraging results, greatly reducing the amount of street prostitution, young women like “Laura,” are still being sold into sexual slavery, often by the people they trust most. As documented in Atika Shubert’s reports, Laura was sold by her "boyfriend" when she was only 17 years old.

So how can you help?

Groups like World Childhood Foundation, founded by Queen Silvia of Sweden, and Hope Now of Denmark, are working to end sexual trafficking and to rehabilitate victims like Laura. You can find out more about their work, as well as ways you can help by visiting their sites.

World Childhood Foundation
Hope Now

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Topics: How to Help

soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. abhishek

    The sad state of women in such developed countries is highly surprising.

    March 31, 2011 at 10:04 am | Reply
    • ForwardBlue

      The 3rd world USA
      $250,000: The amount of profit that can be made from one woman

      600,000-800,000: The number of people trafficked each year, according to the State Department

      14,500-17,500: The number of people who are trafficked into the United States each year.

      April 1, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Reply
      • ForwardBlue

        Alex Mishulovich and his accomplices trafficked women from Latvia to dance at Chicago area strip clubs. Mishulovich, 44, was sentenced to nine years in prison on an involuntary servitude conviction. He is scheduled to be released in fall 2006. He exerted control over the women by beating them and bragging about supposed connections to the Chechen mafia.

        April 1, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
      • ForwardBlue

        Slavery still exsists in the USA. Why?? The subject does not get media attention in the USA about the USA sex slave trade. How come CNN, does not get good ratings I guess, Cowards

        April 1, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
      • KenX

        The lies get bigger every year. In Nov 2008, the Washington Post reported that they had found 1100 victims in 8 years. By the 50,000 per year estimates, they should have 400,000 victims. They were less than 1% accurate and the solution to that is quadrouple the estimates and ignore the real numbers.

        Educated criminologists really need to step in and get the stats set straight. When criminologist talk about murder rates or robberies or car thefts, they speak of arrests and convictions. I dont see any numbers of arrest and convictions in CNN's reporting. Nor do I see the number of arrest and convictions supporting traffiking estimates. And there is no way this many people could be trafficked into the US without a lot of really obvious signs. To say that the numbers are this high yet it's all hidden is BS. This is going to give criminologists a bad name when the bubble of lies finally bursts and the truth comes out that this is widly exaggerated. People wont believe any crime rates after that.

        April 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Fowardblue

      The USA sex slave trafficking industry hides behind a facade of normality. By establishing employment agencies for immigrants, traffickers ensnare victims, usually women hoping to escape poverty in their own country or to send money home for their families. Often, these women immigrate to the U.S. after being promised a job through such fraudulent agencies. Typically, once they arrive they are stripped of their legal papers and passports, beaten, and locked in a room. Understandably confused, a captive woman may examine her surroundings to find a crude mattress on the floor and vermin for companions. Within a few hours, though, her first customers will arrive. Initially, the men, taking advantage of her confused state, may rape the victim. Armed men guard all the brothel doors, so escaping is out of the question. Language barriers usually prevent a victim from seeking aid, and, as brothels exist in the secrecy of the cities, most captured women are lost forever to the shadows.

      April 2, 2011 at 9:07 am | Reply
      • KenX

        And where have you actually seen this? And why dont we hear of arrests and convictions of such in the US? I never hear of it.....because it does not work that way. They may come in for prostitution, but most are willing and there is not beatings or armed gaurds "at the door of the borthel". Where is this brothel in your community?

        April 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • FYIDenmark

      I am all for stopping women/girls/children/boys being sold as sex slaves or for any other reason. We are all free and should have the right to live that way. The police need to help those sold into these type of situations, but doing what Sweden is doing may not be the right answer.

      Prostitution has been a big business for many many years and if it is taken off the street, those that want it, will find another way to get it. If they can not buy it, what will they do? Will the cases of rape increase. More brutality against women?

      In Sweden it seems that the men are turning to the internet, but I am sure that the need has not diminished. It is probably good for business for those that are working. Higher prices cause there is less product. The demand has not gone away, it is just not as visible.

      Is this the right solution. Time will only tell. The other side of the coin is that many women choose this profession. The money is good, they enjoy the work and they make better money than working at a factory job.

      Did Sweden ask them if they wanted to lose their jobs? Sad to say but, Sweden will not stop prostitution, nor will Denmark or any other country. They will only drive it underground and find it harder to help those who really need to get out of the business.

      April 2, 2011 at 11:29 am | Reply
      • Fowardblue

        It is hard to make distinctions between slavery and the profession. The laws need to be for the slave traders.owners not the slaves.

        April 2, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  2. Zippy

    And yet it is legal in such underdeveloped countries as Germany and the Netherlands. As a Swede I know that Sweden always knows best and you cant convince us otherwise

    March 31, 2011 at 10:55 am | Reply
    • Phil

      Which basically goes to show how much Sweden doesn't know.

      April 1, 2011 at 11:48 am | Reply
    • KenX

      Germany is hardly underdeveloped. Germany leads the world in technology of auto production and pharmacueticals.

      April 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Reply
  3. Fritz

    Sweden has not obtained encouraging results in battling prostitution. The results presented by Beatrice Ask have been criticized by researchers.

    March 31, 2011 at 10:59 am | Reply
  4. joyleo

    Neither of them can be blamed. The seller sells for money and they buyer buys for pleasure. If the seller is shown ways to make the same or more money in a decent way and if the buyer is encouraged to gain this pleasure only with his partner things may change. It all on that crucial moment of thinking, if they could think of something else for that one moment they will be out of it.

    March 31, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Reply
  5. Henrik

    How dare CNN state "Denmark is called brothel of Scandinavia" ? Called by whom? I call CNN corrupt journalists, willing to write anything to get attention.

    March 31, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Reply
    • Asif

      I will correct Oscar Wilde: "Patriotism is the virtue of both the ignorant and the vicious".

      April 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Reply
    • KenX

      Dont feel bad. They call Thailand the "world pedophile hub". They talk of children marketed in the streets to tourists for sex. BS. My wife is Thai and I have been going to Thailand for years and I have NEVER seen a child sold on the street for sex. It is BS. It's just poeple repeating lies they have heard and re-presenting it as the verified truth when they have never been there to verify it..

      April 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Reply
  6. Aleckzandria

    Just watched the story and as Kevin Bales[President, Free the Slaves) Says the laws in Demark are flaw and a bit odd. But I wish you could come down to Belgium and i think it is even worst. I am a survive of Sexual Slaverly. Eventually i fought hard until i was regularised in Belgium and now i have my permanent stay but the laws in Belgium are pathetic as far as tackling every trafficking is concerned especially when it comes totrafficking of women and children. The organisations involved are as complicated as the rule of law here.

    March 31, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • Peter French

      No, the laws in Denmark are not a flaw. Denmark is a free country, and in a free country people should be able to make a living anyway they see fit. Just because a lot of people are neurotic and have problems with sex doesn't mean they have a right to dictate that it should be illegal to charge for it.
      And lets not forget that if a woman is illegally in the country for the purposes of selling sex she too is a criminal. The excuse that she was forced to do it does not absolve her of that guilt. If she is held prisoner it is her duty to try and escape and contact police. If she doesn't that doesn't mean the system is flawed.
      On the contrary its the vaguely Nazi like system in Sweden where they sit in judgement over what people are allowed to believe – if a woman says she likes to be a sex worker they dismiss her as mentally sick and override her rights. Just like they think swedes shouldn't be allowed to drink alcohol except in tiny amounts – those are human rights violation if ever we saw it. Sure many swedes who travel to Denmark to have needs met, but they wouldn't have to if they lived in a free country.
      And as for Sweden having success, that's nonsense of course they are going to scare people away from the streets with their sick laws, but that just mean they have gone underground. That's some success.

      April 1, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Reply
      • G

        Peter, why would you say such a thing? You must be a troll, otherwise you would not say it. Thes women did not travel to sell sex, they traveled to find a decent legal job and were deceived. They are trapped and cannot escape, many are killed trying, a few do escape and that's how we know what is happening so we can try to help them

        June 4, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  7. Paul Bunyan

    I didn't know
    Sweden was the brothel of Europe

    March 31, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Reply
  8. Wurzel

    Having lived in Demark I guess I missed something. I think they should move these lovely Ladies back into Sweden and maybe the Men will go around with a smile on their Faces !

    April 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  9. keni

    why dont the govts that catch the gangsters who traffick people use the money that is taken from them to re-distribute it back to the women who are freed...? i mean what is the point of freeing people if they then have no money to live on...the billions that the gangsters made off the girls is money that is properly the girls' property...govts shouldn't keep this for themselves.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • ovcr1291

      I think, that is a good idea, but the money has to be channeled, so as to help the victims sort of like enrolling them in educational programms, create an athmosphere, where they can fullfill their motherhood, without having to stay on line.
      But the kind of money you are talking about, often ends up in the wrong accounts and hands, diverting the criminal aspect of the trafficked money and the action.

      April 2, 2011 at 3:43 am | Reply
    • KenX

      Because they cannot find the victims. Does that tell you something? There aren't that many of them. And even if they did find them, they could give money to them only to find them right back in prostitution 6 months later....willfully.

      Everytime I see the media on this campaign, I think how criminologist approach these problems. THey look at arrests and convictions. I dont see CNN quoting any of those numbers. I just see advocates and 6-figure bureacrats sitting at wood desk and throwing wild numbers around to justify thier jobs.

      April 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  10. Asif

    The main reason for trafficking of women in Scandinavia is the attitude of both the government and the people. The Scandinavian mentality of "everything is just fine as long as it isn't us" combined with the twisted "enlightened and liberal" mindset of viewing highly organised criminals as though they were confused kids next door. You literally have people who have violently brain damaged dozens of people, convicted by the courts and done their time and are still not 40. But "luckily" (I still can't believe I've said it), the ever growing presence of hardcore East European criminals, will definitely change all that. You have members of "Hells Angels" convicted of murder, drug trafficking, extortion and all sorts of other crimes who are morally supported in their point of view, that the 2nd generation immigrant criminals (competitors to Hells Angels in the world of organized crime in Denmark), dubbed "The Jackals" by Hells Angels that are a threat to the society by the present Danish Minister of Integration Mr. Søren Pind. Following is the article "What if Jønke is right" (Jønke is a leading member of Hells Angels in Denmark).
    I also have to point out that it is very acceptable amongst Danish women that a much older Danish man has a very young "eastern" female girlfriend and yet at they very same time they consider it despicable if an older Danish guy is trying to make a move a younger "local" female. It's the mindset of Scandinavian people in general that needs t be changed. They see the outside world as their to enjoy and certainly not as a part of their responsibility.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Reply
    • Peter French

      "The main reason for trafficking of women in Scandinavia is the attitude of both the government and the people. The Scandinavian mentality of "everything is just fine as long as it isn't us" combined with the twisted "enlightened and liberal" mindset of viewing highly organised criminals as though they were confused kids next door."

      Except that is rubbish.They believe people have a right to make a living anyway they see fit, including prostitution – that criminals come and sell their bodies is not legal and is persuade and dealt with to the full extended of the law. That doesn't mean the law should be changed to make illegal those areas you don't like.

      They criminal system in Denmark works a lot better than in other countries. The point of going to prison is to get the people re socialized and back into society not to punishment – punishment is a waste of time if the one being punished doesn't understand or agree with the reasoning – then its basically just torture. In countries where the point is to punish, like America, the crime rate is skyrocketing – in Denmark its low.

      "What if Jønke is right"

      Well, what if he is? I haven't followed your link, but even if he is a criminal doesn't automatically mean he is 100% wrong in all things. Just as you are not 100% right in all things, even though you seem to believe you are.

      "I also have to point out that it is very acceptable amongst Danish women that a much older Danish man has a very young "eastern" female girlfriend"

      I doubt you have any insight into what Danish women in general think, however I do know it is not their business to sit in judgement of what other people are doing. Denmark has age of consent laws just as any other country, and if a woman is above that age limit she is free to engage in a relationship with whom she chooses – regardless of the age difference. Again an example of your own narrow minded prejudice you want to force on other people.

      "It's the mindset of Scandinavian people in general that needs t be changed."

      Theirs is live and let live – theirs is the freedom of the individual – yours is that all others must be subjected to your view of the world – and punished if they disagree.

      You are the disagreeable here.

      April 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Reply
      • Asif

        @ Mr. French I don't know if you realize it, but you just proved my point. The storm does not go away just because you question it's existence.

        And you most probably also mean that people like Hitler and Saddam Hussain were not 100% wrong just as I am not 100% right, right !? And I quote you: "Theirs is live and let live – theirs is the freedom of the individual – yours is that all others must be subjected to your view of the world – and punished if they disagree."

        Mr. Peter French I am only honored to know that people like you completely disagree with me.

        April 2, 2011 at 5:18 am |
  11. Asif

    I believe that people should leave their nationality at home. It is this ignorant state of mind that it's one's state against the other that gives organised crime this much power in todays world. We are not here to discuss whether your country has a better or worse record on the subject. We are all equally to blame. One country provides a vast ocean of poor women, the other the market and between them we have the transit countries.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Reply
  12. Bernard

    I am CNN! I am the White Knight! I will save you from those dark skinned men in developing countries who are so cruel and brutal! I will broadcast it all over TV so that everyone will think there is a massive problem out there which must be solved- and you can solve it by watching CNN! Just like there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq! And we invaded Afghanistan to free those women from the Taliban! Soon we will invade Denmark until they adopt Sweden's laws! We rule the world!

    I say- punish the human traffickers. But not all prostitution is human trafficking. It may be shocking to middle class Americans who live in the bible belt, but... yes, some women (and even some men) do choose to do sex work freely and without being forced. Go ask them if they want you to make sex work illegal (for customers or for the sellers-either way).

    April 2, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Reply
  13. Bernard

    Want to end slavery? Just watch CNN! Now... don't you feel much better?

    April 2, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Reply
  14. Fowardblue

    End slavery in the USA.

    April 4, 2011 at 5:41 am | Reply
  15. crpatel

    they are badly in need of industry be it small or whatever for starters.May I suggest – form an umbrella group to foresee
    management.Act according to the ability of the person. Be it sewing,embroidery,cooking,plastic knobs,buttons,smock
    clothing ete etc., the list is practically endless.Most do not require much working space either. I came across a young
    nepali woman who knew nothing except cooking ! her kitchen was rather small but had a 25 foot long verandah,At my
    suggestion she was able to borrow a couple of tables,a bench and some pots & pans.I bought and gave her some
    crockery.In a few weeks when I passed her place I was amazed ! She had literally hit a jackpot with the amount of
    response she got. I showed her a few tricks,I am sure a small boost can help many aspirants.

    April 4, 2011 at 10:22 am | Reply
  16. Fowardblue

    We need to focus on the problems in our own country, not across the globe. I am sure that the people who help could use 80 billion or so, like the start of Iraq got.

    April 5, 2011 at 11:48 am | Reply
  17. KenX

    The opening paragraph says it all. You can throw a bunch of poeple in prison with gender biased laws and still not fix the problem.

    April 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Reply
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