Amsterdam police, healthcare team up to help sex trafficking victims
The police and various healthcare institutions in Amsterdam are teaming up to help the victims of so-called loverboys by giving then psychological and legal aid. The goal is to make the police more accessible to girls who want to get out of the clutches of their "loverboy," a reference to specific types of pimps, Het Parool reports.
Loverboy is what the Netherlands calls a pimp that seduces fragile girls into a sexual relationship. They then convince the girl to have sex with other men usually friends, and then push them into illegal prostitution. The girls are forced to have paid sex and give the loverboys the money. They are also often blackmailed with embarrassing or incriminating footage of themselves. Underage girls often fall victim to loverboys And very few of them turn to the police.
"Victims often have a negative association with the police", Sigrid van de Poel, director of Youth Protection, said to the newspaper. "That complicates the chances of charges being pressed and the prosecution of a loveboy."
Human trafficking and forced prostitution is a lucrative business, according to Het Parool. A loverboy can earn about 300 thousand euros per year by forcing a girl into prostitution. Due to the money involved, some aid givers believe that loverboys are part of larger criminal organizations. Due to shame and fear, many loverboy cases remain unknown to the authorities. The Dutch Youth Institute estimates that around 1,500 girls across the Netherlands are victims of loverboys. In Amsterdam alone, Spirit is currently treating 40 girls that sustained psychological damage as the result of human trafficking.
"Joint action is more powerful", Olivier Dutilh, head of the regional detectives Amsterdam, said to the newspaper. The hope is that this more intensive cooperation will prevent the loverboy problem escalating.
On Thursday eight parties will sign the ''Covenant Casualty Consultation Human Trafficking 18-/18+". In addition to the police, these include Arkin, HVO-Querido, Spirit and Youth Protection Amsterdam. The municipality of Amsterdam, responsible for security and youth care in the city, supports this initiative.
Amsterdam's new joint approach will experiment with new methods, such as introducing a police officer in civilian clothing to a victim to win trust. Detectives will also be informed on victims' treatment, so that they know what they know what the victims are going through. Due to professional confidentiality, therapists and other aid givers will not give any incriminating details to the police.