Netherlands among worst nations for human trafficking, but number of reports declining
The Netherlands is in the top 5 countries with the most human trafficking, finishing behind Romania and Nigeria, according to a report the Coordination Center for Human Trafficking (CoMensha) will publish on Tuesday - the European Day Against Human Trafficking. The Ministry of Justice and Security asks CoMensha to map out the nature and extent of human trafficking in the Netherlands every year, Metro Nieuws reports.
The number of reported cases of human trafficking in the Netherlands has decreased in recent years. Last year there were 791 reports, compared to 1,013 in 2020 and 1,372 in 2019. But according to CoMensha director Ina Hut, human trafficking has not decreased. “The problem of human trafficking is much bigger than the number of reports show. We do not see many victims because sexual, criminal, and labor exploitation takes place in secret.”
The National Rapporteur on Human Trafficking and Sexual Violence against Children estimates that between 5,000 and 7,000 people in the Netherlands are victims of human trafficking every year. “Other estimates even say there are between 20,000 and 30,000 victims per year. That’s closer to the actual number,” Hut said, according to Metro.
Most victims are adult women. Last year, the youngest two reported victims were 12 years old. They were sexually exploited and forced into crime. The oldest victim was 67 years old. In 2020, the youngest victim was 2, and the oldest was 68.
According to Hut, human trafficking in the Netherlands is more than forced prostitution. It also includes labor or criminal exploitation, forced begging, or even forced organ removal.
“We are moving from one crisis to another. People have less and less to spend and are falling below the poverty line. Then it is tempting to transport a package to earn some extra money,” Hut said. “Or farmers are approached by drug criminals to use their empty barns, under coercion or threat. Or people are allowed to live in holiday parks for free but have to offer sexual services in return. It is worrying and deserves much more attention.”
On Monday, the Center Against Child Trafficking and Human Trafficking (CKM) reported that 14 percent more victims of human trafficking sought help through an online chat service by the treatment and expertise center Fier last year. Most of the victims had been exploited for a year or longer. In 16 percent of the cases, the victims were exploited by one or both of their parents.