Dozens of mentally disabled women lured into prostitution


At least 76 women and underage girls with mental disabilities were recruited for prostitution in the Netherlands over the past two years while residents of institutions for people with lower intellectual capabilities. A new investigation into the growing trend will be broadcast in the Dutch-language program, “Dit is de Dag Onderzoek,” Saturday at 9:15 pm on NPO 2.

"The problem is starting to increase. In recent years, we have been alerted by our [care facilities] that they are dealing with girls who are victims of loverboys," said Jan van Hoek, the director of an association representing 3,000 care facilities for people with disabilities.

These “loverboys” are aptly named in that they pretend to fall in love with the intended victim and under the guise of love, coerce them into acts of prostitution, transitioning into the role of a pimp rather than a boyfriend. Girls that are enticed by these “loverboys” are often extremely vulnerable, and become further victims of emotional and physical abuse.

In reality, the number of abused mentally disabled women is likely much higher, as many victims do not report the crime to authorities, noted Corine Dettmeijer, the Netherlands' official in charge of human trafficking research and trends.

One victim, Rashida said that her boyfriend convinced her to have sex for money. When she did, she gave him the money because she thought that he loved her.

Loes, who is currently residing at a care facility says that she was forced into prostitution. She had sex with as may as eight people per day, and was scared and intimidated by her pimp.

"We strongly feel, even still, very involved with her. What has happened to her has also hit us," said the Dichterbij Foundation, the managers of Loes' care facility. They declined to delve into specifics about the case because of patient privacy. "The perpetrators are in fact part of a brutal criminal underworld, as the police have notified us," they added.