Danish Policy on Prostitution and Trafficking for sexual exploitation

In Denmark, prostitution among adults has not been criminalized neither as buyer nor seller of sex. It is, however, illegal to act as a pimp, making a profit of other peoples prostitution. There have been many debates of the possibility of making prostitution illegal, however recently the discussion had an input from a Criminal Code Council deliberating on the appropriateness of the legislation on the area of sexual offences. After three years the Council produced a report on for instance the most expedient legislation on  prostitution, rape and other areas concerning sexual offences. Their conclusion, regarding the possible criminalization of prostitution, was that it would not improve conditions for prostitutes, and would even risk a deterioration of the conditions the prostitutes are working and living under. Instead, the current government views prostitution as a social problem and therefore one to be tackled with social measures, and furthermore intend to intensify the efforts to find and punish those making a profit of procuring prostitutes. 

However, we see women trafficked for sexual exploitation. Human trafficking is a serious crime that Denmark wants to combat. Since the first action plan regarding trafficking in women from 2002, a number of initiatives have been launched focusing on supporting the victims, preventing human trafficking in Denmark and internationally as well as prosecuting the traffickers.

The primary target group for the initiatives is:

  • All victims of trafficking who are in or who come to Denmark as part of human trafficking no matter what kind of exploitation the victims are trafficked for. The efforts,

however, will still primarily focus on women trafficked for sexual exploitation, as they constitute the largest registered group of victims in Denmark.

In addition to efforts concerning victims in this country, the initiatives are secondly directed at:

  • The traffickers.
  • Potential customers who buy services from victims of trafficking. < >
  • Possible victims in the countries of origin in which efforts focus on prevention of human trafficking.

The long-term goal of the efforts is to reduce the number of victims of trafficking in Denmark.

The latest action plan was launched in 2011 and is valid until 2014. Of significant changes compared to former action plans can be mentioned: victims of trafficking are taken to a crisis shelter instead of prison. An evaluation of the voluntary repatriation scheme was carried out in 2012.

In 2011 60 persons were identified as victims of trafficking. The majority of whom were identified by the police, and the rest primarily through various kinds of outreach work.

In June 2013 a report on the demand side of prostitution was published, showing among other things that as many as 2 out of 10 men find it acceptable to buy sex from a trafficked woman. However, the mens acceptance of that practice decreased when they were presented with concrete examples of the life of a trafficked prostitute, leading to the conclusion that information (and the prevailing attitude in ones social milieu) can influence the level of acceptance towards buying sex from a trafficked woman.

Links below to the action plan etc.

Evaluation of repatriation scheme:

Action plan:

Status on the action plan:

Center Against Human Trafficking (center mod menneskehandel):

Mapping of the demand for prostitution:

Contact details:


Download documents

(the document list below will be filtered upon selecting an option)