Danes have mixed attitudes regarding prostitution. On the one hand, if a woman is over 18, it is not against the law for her to become a prostitute – unlike in Norway or Sweden. On the other, prostitutes are not entitled to unemployment benefit or other state help.
Ten percent of Danish prostitutes start working in the sex trade before they are 18 years old, even though anyone who forces a woman into prostitution as a minor faces up to six years in prison, while buying sex from a minor is punishable by up to two years in prison. It is, in fact, illegal to make money prostituting others. It is punishable by up to four years in prison while human trafficking carries a maximum ten-year penalty.
Thirty percent were one-offs
Nearly one out of every six men in Denmark have admitted to having paid for sex, which corresponds to 15.5 percent of the male population and between 260,000 and 285,000 sex customers. The average man visits his first prostitute just before he turns 25. Thirty percent say they have paid for sex only once, while 9 percent reveal they have visited prostitutes over 50 times.
There are about 3,200 prostitutes in Denmark and it is estimated that about half of them are immigrants.
Money and violence
About 85 percent of the prostitutes say that they went into the business for economic reasons, and 18 percent said that they have experienced physical violence from clients one or more times during the past year.
Some 57 percent of Danes do not support a ban on prostitution, while 25 percent believe that prostitution should be illegal. More women than men are in favour of a ban. About 70 percent of those polled did not believe that a ban would reduce prostitution.