Human trafficking victims in NL five times higher than expected: National Rapporteur

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Over 6 thousand people, mostly women, are annually exploited for prostitution or webcam sex in the Netherlands, according to a new report by National Rapporteur on Human Trafficking Corinne Dettmeijer. With that, the number of human trafficking victims in the country is five times higher than assumed, RTL Nieuws reports.

According to Dettmeijer, this report is the first "reliable, solid and scientifically substantiated" estimate of the actual number of human trafficking victims in the Netherlands. To date, the number of victims were based on reports to the police or other agencies, but a large part of trafficking remains under the radar.

The report speaks of an estimated 6,250 victims per year, five times more than the number of victims reported to the authorities. Most of these victims are women, and a large proportion of them are underage.

Underage victims especially fall victim to so-called loverboys, or pimps. According to the report, 2 to 3 girls per high school of a thousand students fall victim to a loverboy. Dettmeijer calls it crazy and worrying that the authorities only have sight of 11 percent of these girls. "This may be because they often have less of a feeling of being exploited, or because this exploitation situation goes unnoticed", Dettmeijer said. 

Two thirds of human trafficking victims in the Netherlands face sexual exploitation, such as forced prostitution. The remaining victims face criminal and labor exploitation and forced service. These victims also include many men and are often brought to the Netherlands from abroad. 

Dettmeijer calls it remarkable that the number of victims in the Netherlands is so much higher than the authorities are aware of. She calls for the government to make it possible for agencies to make report of victims without the victims' permission. 

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