Posted on: September 2, 2016
The number of declarations on victims of human trafficking in the Netherlands has declined substantially last year in comparison with the prior year. In 2015 a total of 1.321 possible cases of human trafficking were reported to the police, compared with 1.561 cases the year before.
According to the national rapporteur on human trafficking and sexual violence against children, Corinne Dettmeijer, this new development is “concerning”. According to Dettmeijer “there is no reason to assume that these numbers prove a low number of victims”. A possible reason for the reversion in the number, according to the national rapporteur, is a change in priorities at the military police and regular police force.
The military police has been shifting its attention from human trafficking towards people smugglers. An extensive reorganization of the regular police force could be a cause for a reduced attention into human trafficking in that branche. The largest reduction in the number of reported cases comes from the military police: 46 percent less declarations than the prior year. At the regular police there was a decline of 14 percent. A year before that the decline in declarations had already started with a decline in victim declarations of 36 percent in 2013 compared to 2012.
“Refugees, who arrive here with the help of people smugglers, are vulnerable to human trafficking, that is why people should be extra alert towards the signals of human trafficking. The focus should be on the action against people smugglers and security, simultaneously not maintaining our attention towards human trafficking in the Netherlands leads to a false sense of security. The new measures are at the expense of the victims of human trafficking” warns Dettmeijer. Dettmeijer wants the minister for justice and security to implement measures so that the signals of human trafficking can be recognised faster within the current migration- and refugee flows.
A spokesperson for the ministry of justice and security stated that there has been a shift in attention towards, among other things, the recent migrant flows. Within these flows of migrants and refugees the police is still on the lookout for human trafficking. The ministry further stated that although a lot is still being done against human trafficking, they will have talks with the public prosecutor and the police to discuss the needs for keeping the attention towards human trafficking in the Netherlands at an acceptable level. Talks are currently in progress.