Violence and forced prostitution

The author of the communication is Y.W., a Chinese national born in 1967. She sought asylum in Denmark; her application was rejected and, at the time of submission of the communication, she was awaiting deportation to China. She claims that such deportation would constitute a violation by Denmark of her rights under articles 1 to 3, 12 and 15 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, read in conjunction with the Committee’s general recommendation No. 19. The author is represented by counsel, Niels-Erik Hansen. The Convention and the Optional Protocol thereto entered into force for the State party on 21 May 1983 and 22 December 2000, respectively.


Concerning Y.W. vs. Denmark violation of CEDAW:

Denmark was filed an initial complaint against a deportation order, dated 26 September 2011, set by the Danish Immigration Service in violation of CEDAW – art. 1,2,3,12,15 and General Recommendation 19. There was also asked for urgent interim measures as the client was set to an immediately forced deportation to her country of origin, China.
The author was sent to prison waiting to be deported.

Entering Denmark on November 2008, the author got arrested in 2010 after having stayed in Denmark illegally since 2008. The author left China for more than 8 years ago due to her spouse who was lending a great amount of money due to his gambling issue, were the author was forced to sign a document making her responsible for her husbands gambling debt. This resulted in the author being threatened, raped, burned with hot oil and pressured to work as a prostitute by criminals in China. According to her, she was on her own and could not seek protection by the police concluding that the pressure on her got worse and had to flee the country.
The author explained that she had no family in China and that she couldn’t manage her financial living due to her lack of education.

After fleeing China the author travelled in different countries, but came to Denmark and applied for asylum in 2010. The author did not seek protection in China before fleeing due to the fact that gender violence is not acknowledge by the police/Chinese authorities as an issue of concern.
The events of the specific acts of gender violence that she suffered, herby the threats, rape and forced prostitution therefore took place before fleeing and was informed to the Danish authorities, however her application was processed as manifestly unfounded by decision as of May 2010.
The author was interviewed by the Immigration service in April 2010 without any assistance of legal counsel. During the interview she described the gender violence she suffered, but according to the Government she was also obliged to mention the provisions of CEDAW that was violated.
It is though important to state these aren’t “alleged events” as the Danish Immigration Service didn’t question whether the events took place or not. But the Danish authorities states, that such events are however not relevant, since the case was considered “manifestly unfounded” which is why the author should seek protection by the Chinese police.

On February 2013 the counsel appealed the decision to the High Court, arguing that it was a violation of CAT and/or CEDAW to continue the detention period. On March 2013 the Eastern High Court upheld the decision of the city court and thus the matter was invoked in front of the Board of Appeal to the Supreme Court.
However on April 2013, the Board rejected to allow further appeal to the Danish Supreme Court and consequently all national remedies have now been exhausted with regard to the suffering of the author during the detention period.

After the decision, the author stayed in an asylum refugee camp as “rejected asylum seeker”, meaning that she was ordered to leave on her own, with the threat that she could be deported by force by any moment. This threat however was not carried out, but in October 2012 she was arrested and had stayed in detention since then, with the purpose of forced deportation.

If returned, the author fears that due to the fact that she escaped before she had paid the money and/or worked in prostitution for a similar amount of money, the same people will find her, since they are part of a criminal network. She could risk to be killed as revenge or raped and forced into prostitution in order for her to earn back the money that they want her to pay.
The author doesn’t believe that she could be protected by the Chinese authorities and especially after reading the CEDAW’s concluding observations on China, and believes that her fear is well founded.

On the contrary it is argued that the Danish authorities should have identified this as an issue also relating to CEDAW and treated the asylum case accordingly.

11. May 2017

CEDAW 51/2013
  • Decision: 13. April 2015
  • Comm: Gender