When Nigerian Omo Amenagawon came to Denmark at 20, she believed that she would be working as an au pair, but the truth soon proved to be quite different.
She was forced into prostitution in Jutland’s brothels while those behind the scenes took all the money.
Now, she is the first woman in Denmark to come forward and put a name and face on trafficked women.
She went to the police and did something rarely seen: she testified against the financial backers and co-operated with police in their investigation, an investigation which has now earned those responsible prison sentences.
After the trial started, Amenagawon received death threats from the human trafficking network in Nigeria.
Despite this, she has been denied asylum in Denmark, and the authorities want to forcibly deport her and her one-year-old son back to Nigeria.
DR News interviewed Amenagawon at a secret location after she went underground with her son, fearing for both their lives. She was given help to ‘disappear’ by the founder of the Christians Venner safe house, where she had been staying until a few days ago.
“Our fear is that she’ll be killed upon arrival. That’s how these things play out, so we’ve decided to help her hide,” said Mogens Pedersen.
Amenagawon now lives in fear of her own safety.
“I co-operated with the police. I testified against the traffickers, and they received a prison sentence. At the time, the police said that I should apply for asylum in order to protect myself, and I did. However, now I’m to be sent back to the trafficking network anyway, when they’ve already threatened to kill me,” she said.
Violation of human rights
Omo Amenagawon’s lawyer, Jens Rye-Andersen, is puzzled by the refusal to grant her asylum.
“There is no doubt that, in this situation, we are obligated to step in and protect her by giving her asylum. If it was a Danish woman who had risked her own safety like this, she would have been better protected,” stated Rye-Andersen.
He believes the Danish authorities are acting in violation of international human rights in the case, and he is prepared to take the matter to the European Court of Human Rights.