EXIST will stop human trafficking!
EXIST will prevent trafficking in human beings, help Nigerian women in prostitution return to life, and build competencies with a variety of actors in Denmark and Nigeria.
The tree focus areas of EXIST:
• Advocacy and preventive information activities
• Rehabilitation and reintegration
• Capacity building and competence development
• TOGETHER we can stop human trafficking!
The primary target group of EXIST is Nigerian women in Denmark and Nigeria who are victims of human trafficking. EXIST’s secondary target groups are – in both Denmark and Nigeria – politicians, civil servants, NGO and church leaders, journalists, business people, entrepreneurs, artists, civilians and donors who have either shown interest in the case or who the organization considers may be of interest in, or have influence on, helping the case.
EXIST collaborates with the night café Night Light Café on Vesterbro square (Facebook: Night Light Café) where foreign prostitutes can come each Wednesday night between 3-6AM. Approximately 35 volunteers take turns giving the women a cozy retreat. It can be together for example in the form of playing a game, making jewelry, talking or offering a cup of tea and something to eat. But the women are also informed of how they can get help to get out of prostitution. If they accept the offer they will be prepared for repatriation in cooperation with the established public system such as the Danish Centre Against Human Trafficking and the International Organization for Migration.
To be able to provide a holistic effort, EXIST collaborates with MeCAHT Nigeria www.MeCAHT.org with a focus on preventive information activities via media and campaigns as well as collaboration with the government as well as NGO and church leaders. At the same time, we support 10 safe houses with an associated rehabilitation program where women can return to life outside the prostitution environment. The women are offered schooling, development of their potential as well as training and education so that they can leave the safe house and be reintegrated with family and society. Likewise, there is a focus on capacity development with the aim of competence advancement of tomorrow’s “ambassadors” in the efforts against human trafficking. The initiatives that EXIST offers women have been proven effective by recognized organizations that work with these problems.
There are many reasons for why we should stop human trafficking and help people who have been victims of this treatment. First and foremost, as a modern and rich society in a global world of the 21st century, we have a moral responsibility to try to prevent human trafficking. To the extent that we cannot prevent it, we should help those who are exposed to this form of coercion.
Next, it is important that we consider human trafficking as a humanitarian disaster. People who are exposed to this kind of inhuman treatment risk lifelong physical and mental scars. These scars may be in the form of anxiety, depression, aggression, PTSD, and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV. It can also be stigmatization and exclusion from society as well as abuse of drugs and alcohol.
From a societal perspective, it also costs economic and human resources to prevent trafficking, support and treat the victims, and apprehend and prosecute the criminal traffickers. In addition, the financial resources that the trafficked expected, and which was the reason for leaving their family and home country, does not benefit their poor families in the home country. Last but not least, the income generated by trafficking in the form of prostitution contributes to criminal organizations that can use them to traffic more people or for other criminal activities.
The Global Slavery Index estimates that 9,000 people from different nations live in Denmark under slave conditions including forced labor, forced prostitution and forced marriages. Denmark ranked as number 150 out of 167 countries in the world on the index in 2016. Nigeria internally has an estimated number of 1,4 million people who live as slaves and the country ranked number 32. There are no number of how many trafficked Nigerian women exist worldwide. But it is widely recognized that Nigeria is among the countries with most victims of human trafficking and victims have been identified in over 40 countries (figures from 2017).
According to the Danish Centre against Human Trafficking, 80 people were trafficked to Denmark for prostitution in 2017. Out of these, 61 of the women were from Nigeria. Nigerian women have dominated the statistics over the past 10 years where the physical number has tripled from 2007-2017. In addition, the women have become younger in the last two years: in 2015, the age group 10-29 made out 52%, while in 2017 it was 76%. It is believed that younger women are easier for the traffickers to control.