Denmark
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    Profile

    Denmark

    Capital

    Copenhagen

    Gross domestic product (GDP)

    USD 350,104.33 million

    Income group

    High income

    Population

    5,814,422

    Area

    42,920 km²

    Geography type

    Coastal

    3.87

    Criminality score

    150th of 193 countries

    33rd of 44 countries in Europe

    2nd of 8 countries in Northern Europe

    Criminal market

    3.85

    Human trafficking

    4.00

    Human smuggling

    4.50

    Arms trafficking

    4.00

    Flora crimes

    1.50

    Fauna crimes

    2.00

    Non-renewable resource crimes

    2.00

    Heroin trade

    5.00

    Cocaine trade

    5.50

    Cannabis trade

    5.00

    Synthetic drug trade

    5.00

    Criminal actors

    3.88

    Mafia-style groups

    5.00

    Criminal networks

    4.00

    State-embedded actors

    2.00

    Foreign actors

    4.50

    8.21

    Resilience score

    4th of 193 countries

    3rd of 44 countries in Europe

    2nd of 8 countries in Northern Europe

    Political leadership and governance

    9.00

    Government transparency and accountability

    9.00

    International cooperation

    8.50

    National policies and laws

    9.00

    Judicial system and detention

    7.50

    Law enforcement

    8.00

    Territorial integrity

    8.50

    Anti-money laundering

    5.50

    Economic regulatory capacity

    8.50

    Victim and witness support

    7.50

    Prevention

    8.50

    Non-state actors

    9.00

    8.21 3.88 3.85 8.21 3.88 3.85

    8.21

    Resilience score

    4th of 193 countries

    3rd of 44 countries in Europe

    2nd of 8 countries in Northern Europe

    Political leadership and governance

    9.00

    Government transparency and accountability

    9.00

    International cooperation

    8.50

    National policies and laws

    9.00

    Judicial system and detention

    7.50

    Law enforcement

    8.00

    Territorial integrity

    8.50

    Anti-money laundering

    5.50

    Economic regulatory capacity

    8.50

    Victim and witness support

    7.50

    Prevention

    8.50

    Non-state actors

    9.00

    Analysis

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    People

    Denmark is a destination and transit point for human trafficking and is the main link between mainland Europe and Scandinavia. Human trafficking in Demark is primarily carried out for labour exploitation and sex trafficking. Most human-trafficking victims are of foreign origin, including from Nigeria, Romania, Thailand, Uganda, Brazil, Ghana and Vietnam. However, in recent years, the Philippines has been the largest source country for victims of forced labour. Crime networks that facilitate human trafficking are typically from the victim’s country of origin. Groups involved in this market can largely be classified as foreign actors, networks and mafia-style groups. In particular, forced labour involves organized- and semi-organized-crime groups. Victims work in restaurants, in construction, cleaning/laundry businesses, among other industries. The perpetrators might function as subcontractors, sometimes to an unwitting client. Since selling and buying sex is legal in Denmark, operating brothels exist and provide a means through which crime groups can make their enterprise quasi-legal. Most people are tricked by a person familiar to them and subsequently trafficked. Sometimes, individuals who have been smuggled into the country are subject to trafficking after they become indebted for travel, lodging and/or food.

    Denmark is mainly a transit − but also a destination − country for human smuggling. The primary driver of human smuggling is debt. However, deception is often involved, and it is difficult to know which workers have been voluntarily smuggled. Voluntarily smuggled individuals often come from the Ukraine, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Bangladesh. The crime groups dominating this market include international networks with ties to criminal mafia-style groups. Danish citizens have assisted irregular refugees to reach Sweden on humanitarian grounds. The domestic market for human smuggling in Denmark is significantly smaller compared with its neighbours.

    Trade

    Firearms are commonly smuggled into Denmark, either to be sold or simply pass through, rather than being used. Illegal and legal arms are taken abroad and then trafficked into Denmark. The most common way of smuggling weapons is in large trucks or heavy-goods vehicles from the Western Balkans. The trafficking of arms between Denmark and Sweden is thought to be extensive and largely run by gangs. Criminal gangs in Denmark are typically involved in several markets and those who smuggle drugs are often the same ones who sell firearms.

    Environment

    Flora-related crimes are limited in Denmark. However, several Danish timber companies have been found to be involved in illegal imports. Similarly, Denmark has a limited small-scale fauna market. As a high-income country, Denmark is more a destination market, with most illegally imported animals coming through Copenhagen Airport, where they are confiscated by customs. Individual perpetrators, such as enthusiasts or small-scale specialised smugglers, are the main criminal actors involved. Similarly, non-renewable resource crime is not a major problem in Denmark. Notably however, in the past decade, there has been an increase in the theft of copper. The most frequent means of stealing copper is by cutting cables between train tracks and selling them on the grey market for cash. Copper theft appears to be conducted in an organized manner by crime networks specialized in stealing precious metals and originating from Eastern Europe. It is worth noting that Danish companies are said to be involved in non-renewable resource crimes in Africa. There are indications that valuable minerals are used to launder money.

    Drugs

    Denmark is a destination and transit country for cannabis headed to Norway. Cannabis is produced in limited amounts in the country, mostly in the Christiania community, which runs its own drugs policies parallel to the Danish state. Cannabis cultivation is the most commonly reported drug production activity in Denmark. However, demand surpasses the amount of cannabis that can be supplied domestically. Therefore, a large amount of the cannabis in Denmark originates from North Africa, which is smuggled in via Southern Europe or maritime routes. Synthetic drugs like amphetamines and MDMA — also known as ecstasy and molly — rank second among the most frequently used drugs in Denmark. Small facilities have been found to produce amphetamines mainly for personal use, but amphetamines in the Danish market are primarily produced in the Netherlands and Central/Eastern Europe. The drugs are typically smuggled into Denmark across the land border. Many transactions occur via the dark web. People affiliated with biker gangs in Denmark dominate the trade and distribution of amphetamines.

    Denmark is a destination market for heroin, mostly coming via the Balkan route. Danish mafia-style groups, in cooperation with Albanian mafia-style groups, control a sizeable share of the market. Smaller organized-crime groups and individuals − many of whom have family ties in source countries in Southern Asia or to transit countries along the Balkan route − conduct heroin trafficking. Denmark is a destination country for cocaine, where consumption has been increasing since 2013, particularly among young people who use it as a 'party drug'. Cocaine smuggled into Denmark comes from various land routes through other European countries. Mafia-style crime groups, including ethnic-based gangs from South America, West Africa and Southern Europe, control the market. However, their control is not particularly consolidated, as many smaller entrepreneurs and dealers are active.

    Criminal Actors

    Danish police say 92 gangs and 1 314 members were operating in the country in 2017, including a number of biker gangs. While the number of gangs with criminal associations has increased in the past five years, the total number of members in the gangs has decreased since 2012. Gangs, in general, are involved in the drug markets, extortion, economic crimes, such as fraud and tax evasion, robbery, human and arms trafficking. The main market is drugs. Larger and more-organized biker gangs traffic drugs; the smaller street gangs sell the drugs or liaise with would-be buyers. These gangs solicit protection fees to shop and business owners and are involved with illicit weapons trafficking. In terms of foreign actors, mafia-style groups in the country mainly recruit among second-generation migrants in lower socioeconomic neighbourhoods. Some mafia-style groups have affiliations in multiple countries. For example, while motorcycle gangs have roots abroad, Danish chapters tend to consist of Danish citizens and many biker gangs often let the media know of their explicit Danish identity.

    Crime networks in Denmark tend to be connected to dominant gangs via ties with friends and family or parent crime groups abroad. These networks most commonly engage in copper and precious-metal theft, human trafficking, human smuggling, drugs and weapons trafficking. These markets typically require connections abroad, which are easily attained in Denmark, given it is an important transhipment point to the Nordics. In most cases, networks are widespread and typically connect in urban areas or at national borders, especially in Copenhagen. Some individuals involved in money laundering in financial institutions, such as Danske Bank, are suspected of belonging to crime networks. The role of the state in crime markets is limited. The level of synergy between organized gangs and the public sector in Denmark is low. Organized crime generally does not influence the police, customs or politicians and is not particularly violent.

    Leadership and governance

    The Danish government is ranked among the highest in the world for transparency and accountability. The country has several mechanisms in place to ensure effective oversight of sectors vulnerable to corruption, including the Danish Ombudsman, which investigates complaints from citizens relating to mismanagement or corruption. Although major violence erupted between Danish gangs in 2017, violence in Denmark is generally low. The nexus between organized crime and conflict can be found in criminal activities related to terrorism. In addition, extremist right-wing groups are increasingly active in the country and are capable of and willing to use violence.

    The government has a public stance against organized crime which prioritizes close collaboration between law- enforcement agencies and politicians in neighbouring countries. The government also has an overall effective apparatus to fight organized crime and most legislative changes in response to organized crime have been met with some degree of bipartisan support in parliament. The Danish government has taken steps to strengthen the investigative organized-crime mandates of law-enforcement agencies. Denmark’s national legal framework against organized crime guides authorities in the definition of what constitutes organized crime and the criminal justice process they should engage with to deal with it. Suspected members and members of mafia-style groups risk getting twice the penalty of that of criminals who act independently, or outside of gangs through a specific 'gang-clause'. Overall, the national legislation against organized crime in Denmark receives significant attention and is regularly updated to meet the new demands of law enforcement. On an international level, Denmark has signed and ratified all the treaties relevant to fighting transnational crime. Denmark is a donor country and delivers technical assistance to other countries fighting organized crime.

    Criminal justice and security

    Overall, the Danish judicial system is well equipped to deal with most types of crime. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of convictions of members of mafia-style groups, as well as an increase in the average sentences served by these individuals. The Danish state exercises firm control over the prison system and, although there have been a few incidents involving money laundering and gang violence, they are low compared with global standards. In general, Danish prisons have a long-standing tradition of focusing on the resocialisation of prisoners into civilian life. The country's law-enforcement authorities are considered to be efficient, highly professional, well managed, well equipped and well-coordinated. Law enforcement actors are widely respected in Danish society and, aside from the occasional report of heavy-handedness, there are no indications of mistrust towards law enforcement among the public. Although there has been a rise in violent crime in the past decade, experts claim this is because of an increase in the number of people willing to report a crime rather than the actual number of crimes increasing. Regarding territorial integrity, most organized-crime operations involving people and goods take place across land borders, which are strictly controlled by the border forces. The country's capacity for border control is not compromised by any of its neighbours but rather enhanced through close collaborations. Corruption also appears to be at a low level among customs and police officials, due to good working conditions and salaries.

    Economic and financial environment

    Denmark ranks as having one of the top 10 freest economies in the world. There is no evidence that organized-crime groups have entered legal businesses on a systematic basis. Property rights are strongly protected and necessary non-market institutions, such as healthcare and strong independent judiciaries, have been present for decades, enabling the economy to see a steady growth. However, with relatively liberal legislation surrounding the use and sales of cannabis, drug markets could potentially emerge to conduct illicit activities within the framework of the legal market. Denmark has a framework for anti-money laundering and financial legislation, but not a national anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing strategy. Despite the lack of a national strategy, inspections and assessments of banks and companies, as well as the frequency of reports, have resulted in a significant increase in frequency in the past years. At the same time, financial crime appears to have been on the rise. Recent money-laundering scandals in the country have prompted the government to create a new office to address these issues.

    Civil society and social protection

    Prevention of organized crime in Denmark starts at the local level, where it is done through focusing on the youth, including educating them on the matter and providing venues where young people gather in their free time. Meanwhile, the Danish government’s strategy for treatment and support for victims of organized crime places a heavy focus on human trafficking and drug use. The country’s Centre against Human Trafficking is at the core of the nationwide social action to identify, support and protect victims of human trafficking. The government has a fairly robust framework in place to provide support to victims of modern slavery.

    With regard to drug use, the most prominent harm-reduction measures undertaken by the Danish government include fix rooms — venues where heroin users can inject for free and safely — and temporary housing services with free food and dental care. There are multiple free rehabilitation programmes for people who use drugs. Witness protection is also available and provided by the Danish Security and Intelligence Service. This includes a wide array of protective measures from security guards to change of identity. Witnesses can have cosmetic operations and be relocated to European countries. Strategies for crime prevention and reintegration explicitly rely on civil society actors and NGOs. The country has one of the highest levels of press freedom in the world.

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    The criminal markets score is represented by the pyramid base size and the criminal actors score is represented by the pyramid height, on a scale ranging from 1 to 10. The resilience score is represented by the panel height, which can be identified by the side of the panel.

    This report was funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of State.

    ENACT is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Institute for Security Studies and INTERPOL, in affiliation with the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.

    The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.