Human trafficking in the Netherlands: Significant progress, but further action needed in several areas

23-10-2018, 08:41 | Comments: 0
The Council of Europe’s group of experts on human trafficking has welcomed the significant progress made by the Netherlands in recent years, whilst also calling on the authorities to take further action in a number of areas.

In its second evaluation report on the Netherlands, published today, the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (known as GRETA) highlights a number of positive steps taken by the authorities since June 2014, including:

- The further strengthening of structures and bodies working on human trafficking, including the creation of a national network of regional co-ordinators of assistance provided to victims;

- Increased funding for police and prosecution services dealing with trafficking cases, leading to a 5% yearly increase in the number of detectives certified to investigate trafficking cases;

- Training given to a wide range of professionals, as well as public awareness-raising campaigns and projects aimed at preventing trafficking in children;

- Various steps to help prevent trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation, in particular concerning migrant workers;

- The attention paid to guaranteeing compensation to victims of trafficking.

However, despite the progress achieved, GRETA notes that some issues continue to give rise to concern. The report makes a number of recommendations, notably urging the Dutch authorities to:

- Adopt a new National Action Plan against human trafficking and support it with the necessary resources, the last such action plan having expired in 2014;

- Ensure that assistance provided to foreign victims of trafficking is not dependent on investigations or prosecutions being carried out;

- Take further steps to make sure that all possible foreign victims of trafficking are consistently offered a recovery and reflection period during which they are allowed to stay in the country.

GRETA is responsible for monitoring countries’ implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. The convention has so far been ratified by 46 of the 47 Council of Europe member states, plus non-member Belarus.

Facts and figures

Today’s report notes that:

- 4,478 presumed victims of trafficking were detected in the Netherlands between 2013 and 2016, of which around 80% were female;

- 1,053 presumed child victims of human trafficking were identified between 2013 and 2016; more children with Dutch nationality are being identified as trafficking victims, including an increasing number of children with intellectual disabilities;

- Around 75% of the presumed victims were trafficked for sexual exploitation; the other 25% were subjected to other forms of exploitations including labour exploitation, forced criminality and forced marriage;

- Around 30% of the identified victims were of Dutch nationality; the majority of foreign victims originated from EU countries, including Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary.

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