Trafficking in Persons Report 2013 is out


The Netherlands is a source, destination, and transit country for
men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons,
specifically forced prostitution and forced labor. A significant
number of underage Dutch residents continued to be subjected
to sex trafficking in the country. The Netherlands, Hungary,
Nigeria, Romania, Bulgaria, Sierra Leone, and Poland are the
top seven countries of origin for identified victims of forced
prostitution in 2012; victims are also from Africa, China,
and other parts of Asia. Men and boys are subjected to forced
prostitution and various forms of forced labor, including
in the maritime sector, agriculture, horticulture, catering,
food processing, cleaning, construction, and illegal narcotics
trafficking. Male victims originate primarily from Romania,
Nigeria, Poland, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Angola, China, Ghana,
and Guinea, but are also from India, Bulgaria, Egypt, Hungary,
the Netherlands, and the Philippines. Domestic workers
employed in the Netherlands remain vulnerable to forced labor,
including by foreign diplomats posted in the Netherlands.
Groups vulnerable to trafficking include unaccompanied
children seeking asylum, women with dependent residence
status obtained through fraudulent or forced marriages, women
recruited in Africa and Eastern Europe, and East Asian women
working in massage parlors. Local recruitment of domestic
trafficking victims over the internet continued to increase.

The Government of the Netherlands fully complies with
the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
The government continued to employ a multidisciplinary,
whole-of-government approach to its anti-trafficking efforts
and maintained an effective and independent national antitrafficking rapporteur. It used creative methods to detect and
proactively identify both foreign and domestic trafficking
victims in the country and mobilized a range of governmental,
non-governmental, and private entities in this endeavor. In
2012, the government continued to investigate and prosecute
sex trafficking and forced labor cases vigorously; police and
investigators referred the highest number of trafficking cases
to date for prosecution during the reporting period. While the
average sentences for convicted traffickers increased, courts in
the Netherlands continued to hand down lenient sentences for
these perpetrators. The government increased its international
anti-trafficking cooperation during the year, sharing best
practices and lessons learned with source countries, EU
partners, and other countries.

Recommendations for the Netherlands: Ensure convicted
trafficking offenders receive sentences commensurate with
the seriousness of the crime; continue to develop pragmatic
approaches to victim outreach within illegal and legal labor
sectors, including potential victims inadvertently held in 278
detention centers; ensure sufficient shelter capacity for the
delivery of comprehensive and specialized services for
trafficking victims; continue to employ innovative methods
to prevent and uncover forced labor; continue to mentor
officials in the former Antilles as well as Bonaire, St. Eustatius,
and Saba (BES) to improve identification of victims and
prosecution of traffickers in the Caribbean; and continue to
share best practices and lessons learned with other countries,
in particular, methods to uncover and respond to local sex
trafficking of domestic victims, the development of a multidisciplinary approach and practices on victim protection, and
the importance of employing a self-critical approach to
improve anti-trafficking results.

The Dutch government continued to pursue innovative
approaches to addressing human trafficking through law
enforcement. During the year, it convicted an increased
number of trafficking offenders and increased the average
sentence for trafficking offenders. The Netherlands prohibits
all forms of trafficking through Article 273 of its criminal
code, which prescribes sentences ranging from eight to 18
years’ imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent
and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious
crimes, such as rape. In 2012, the government prosecuted and
convicted 141 trafficking offenders, an increase from 108 in
2011. The average sentence for convicted trafficking offenders
was approximately 25 months in 2011, the most recent year
this data was available, an increase from 21 months in 2010.
The government did not disaggregate forced labor cases from
sex trafficking cases, but one official estimated approximately
one-quarter of all cases involved labor trafficking. One official
noted judges consistently handed down more severe penalties
for rape than for sex trafficking. Local police reported that low
sentences for traffickers continued to result in the reappearance
of the same offenders and thus the continued exploitation of
trafficking victims within the regulated commercial sex sector.
In October 2012, the Administrative Office of the Courts
announced the appointment of specialized anti-trafficking
judges after the rapporteur reported that disparities in the way
judges across the country interpret Article 273 were resulting in
widely varying verdicts and sentences for trafficking offenders.
In addition, in January 2013, the Administrative Office of
the Courts designated four courts to specialize in complex
human trafficking cases.

In a landmark verdict in July 2012, a court in Leeuwarden
sentenced a sex trafficker to six years’ imprisonment for
subjecting a woman to forced prostitution for seven years. The
court also awarded the victim the equivalent of approximately
$1.3 million in restitution as part of its verdict. During the
reporting period, local authorities, including specialized
social workers, interpreters, and lawyers, conducted two
major operations to investigate human trafficking in red-light
districts in Eindhoven and Alkmaar based on the successful
model utilized in The Hague’s red-light district in 2011 that
uncovered useful information about the sex trade, the persons
operating in it, potential victims, and suspected perpetrators.
The government increasingly focused its law enforcement
efforts on sectors vulnerable to forced labor in 2012. In
December 2012, a court in Zwolle sentenced two co-directors
of a temporary agency to respective sentences of four and eight
years’ imprisonment for forced labor involving Polish workers.
The court found the offenders guilty of coercing and exploiting

one male and six female workers in a meat-processing facility,
in addition to other charges; one suspect was also found guilty
of raping three of the victims. The court found that the victims
were completely dependent on the suspects for work, housing,
and transportation. In November 2012, the national police
service published the results of a two-year study on human
trafficking in Chinese restaurants, massage parlors, and nail
salons. The study revealed trafficking victims in these sectors
and found they were reluctant to leave these situations out
of fear of deportation, loyalty to their community, or fear of
reprisal by their traffickers against their families in China.
There were no reported official cases of trafficking-related
complicity in 2012; however, Amsterdam police believe that
police assigned to anti-prostitution law enforcement efforts
carry inherent temptations for corruption. The force therefore
requires anti-trafficking officers in Amsterdam to pass three
examinations in a specialized, 256-hour training course
focused on working with trafficking victims and policing the
sex industry. Potential officers also must sign a code of conduct
before they are eligible to work in this sector. During the
reporting period, the government re-opened an investigation
into allegations that a former Ministry of Justice official had
engaged in child sex tourism in the 1990s after an alleged
victim presented a deposition. The investigation, the third in
the case, ended in October 2012 when the Prosecutor’s Office
concluded that there was insufficient evidence on which to
proceed. An appeal to compel prosecution by court order was
thereafter filed by the complainants and alleged victims; the
appeal remained pending at the end of the reporting period.

The Netherlands demonstrated appreciable progress in its
efforts to protect trafficking victims during the reporting
period. In 2012, Comensha, the government-funded national
victim registration center and assistance coordinator, registered
1,024 potential trafficking victims in the first 11 months of
2012, compared with 1,222 victims in 2011. The government
continued to operate an extensive network of facilities
providing a full range of trafficking-specialized services for
children, women, and men; the government provided victims
with legal, financial, and psychological assistance, shelter,
medical care, social security benefits, and education financing.
Victims in government shelters were not detained involuntarily.
The government reported that single underage asylum seekers
suspected to be trafficking victims were provided intensive
counseling in secure shelters to protect them from traffickers.
Comensha continued to report a shortage of accommodation
for trafficking victims requiring shelter in 2012. Dutch
authorities provided temporary residence permits to allow
foreign trafficking victims to stay in the Netherlands for a
three-month reflection period, during which victims received
immediate care and services while they considered whether
to assist law enforcement. The government provided updated
comprehensive data regarding temporary and permanent
residency permits reported last year. In 2011, the government
reported it granted 390 three-month reflection periods, 400
B-9 temporary residency permits, and 70 permanent residency
permits to trafficking victims. The government did not provide
preliminary figures for 2012, though it confirmed that the
number of permits issued during the first four months of
the year were on par with residency permits issued in 2011.
Victims with B-9 status are permitted access to the labor market.
Permanent residency is granted to victims if their case results
in conviction of their trafficker and to victims who had held
B-9 status for three or more years.

The government encouraged victims to assist in the investigation
and prosecution of traffickers, although it lacked figures on
the percentage of trafficking victims who filed charges against
their traffickers during 2012. The National Prosecutor’s office
reported that many victims did not file complaints, fearing
retaliation by traffickers or deportation by officials. The
government, however, continued to seek ways to increase
incentives for victims to cooperate with law enforcement.
In 2012, the government granted a two-year extension to a
successful 2012 pilot project that demonstrated dedicated
shelters for trafficking victims facilitated recovery and led
to higher rates of cooperation in criminal investigations.
The government also decided to extend until 2015 a pilot
project in which male trafficking victims are offered shelter.
There were no reports that any victims were punished for
unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
However, one NGO expressed concern that some unidentified
trafficking victims may have been mistakenly detained by
law enforcement officials who may have missed signs of
trafficking. In 2012, the government initiated training for staff
working with asylum seekers on ways to identify trafficking
victims among this population. To facilitate safe and voluntary
repatriation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has developed a
system to evaluate victims’ safety in five countries of return.

The government continued to pursue innovative approaches to
prevent trafficking and address demand for commercial sex acts
and forced labor; its multi-agency human trafficking taskforce
continued to coordinate the country’s anti-trafficking response
in 2012. In June 2012, the government renewed a previously
successful campaign to educate clients of women in prostitution
about trafficking and encouraged them to anonymously report
signs of exploitation to authorities through the national antitrafficking hotline. Local police in Amsterdam conducted
and publicized a sting operation at three hotels in 2012 to
ensure compliance with a ban on illegal prostitution on their
premises; in response the Dutch hotel association announced
an industry policy favoring the dismissal of hotel managers
who fail to prevent illegal prostitution in their hotels. In
2012, the government implemented a number of measures
targeting local pimps who seduce young women and then
coerce them into sex trafficking and forced prostitution in the
Netherlands, including through an awareness campaign for
students co-created by a former domestic trafficking victim. In
January 2012, the Social Affairs Ministry launched a campaign
against fraudulent temporary employment agencies prompted
by concerns that temporary agencies may exploit laborers,
mostly in agriculture and horticulture, and thus disrupt the
competitive market. The ministry compiled a list of the 100
agencies most susceptible to fraud for increased scrutiny
by the labor inspectorate. During the reporting period, the
foreign ministry continued to conduct outreach with foreign
diplomats’ domestic staff members, without their employers
present, on how to report cases of abuse.

The government pursued formal cooperation with source
countries and established mentoring relationships via a
memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Dutch
experts and their counterparts in the Caribbean islands
of Curacao, Aruba, and St. Maarten during the year. In
April 2012, the ministry initiated a pilot program to train
foreign consulates from common source countries in the
Netherlands on how to identify and report potential trafficking
victims. The Dutch government continued to demonstrate

anti-trafficking leadership by transparently reporting and
publishing self-critical, public reports on its anti-trafficking
efforts. The National Rapporteur’s office published six reports
on human trafficking in 2012. The military provided training
on the prevention of trafficking and additional training on
recognizing trafficking victims for troops being deployed
abroad on missions as international peacekeepers. In October
2012, the government, in partnership with NGOs and private
sector travel agencies, launched an awareness campaign to
address child sex tourism by distributing a flyer to all travelers
flying internationally from the Netherlands to encourage them
to report suspicious activity.