Dutch prosecutor's first use of "bait profile" led to child sex abuse arrest
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) used a "bait profile" online in the fight against human trafficking and youth prostitution for the first time. This resulted in the arrest of a 54-year-old man from Loenen aan Vecht, who is suspected of the sexual exploitation of a minor.
The use of this fake profile will be explained on EO program Jojanneke uit de Prostitutie on Tuesday evening. The researchers created a profile for a fake 16-year-old boy called Levi and posed as him online on chat sites and sex market places. The "boy" got responses within minutes of going online.
"Sometimes statistics such as age, weight and length of the genitals were immediately requested," prosecutor Daphne van der Zwan said. "Levi" revealing that he is a minor did not deter many. Some immediately offered money or a workplace for prostitution, in exchange for half of his earnings.
What the courts will think of this bait profile is not yet clear. The method is somewhat controversial, as an argument can be made for entrapment. The OM said that the first case will be a "test for this technique".
According to Warner ten Kate of the OM, the use of bait profiles stem from frustration about children being prostituted online. "We see so much happening on the internet. This is the new world and that means that we also have to look for other means of investigation," he said.
According to the National Rapporteur on Human Trafficking, about 1,300 underage girls are sexually exploited in the Netherlands every year. That number is likely higher, as not all victims are identified. There are no concrete figures about underage boys and trafficking, something the Rapporteur raised concerns about in 2019.