Dutch authorities register 809 human trafficking victims

The number of registered victims of human trafficking in the Netherlands rose last year to 809 from 716 in 2007. The number of registered victims from Hungary and China grew fastest, according to provisional figures from the Human Trafficking Coordination Centre (Comensha).

Nearly all victims are women: 763 of the 809. Among the women, 60 percent of the cases certainly involve work in prostitution or in ‘massage salons’. In 5 percent, it has been established that they were put to work outside the sex industry. Of the remaining 35 percent, no definite conclusion can be reached, but these likely also include many prostitutes, newspaper Trouw reported Friday releasing the Comensha figures.

The number of registered Hungarian victims of human trafficking in the Netherlands nearly quadrupled last year from 2007, from 12 to 45. All 45 victims are women, who have likely been put to work in the sex industry.

Trouw said the increase in the number of Hungarians was remarkable, as fewer victims actually came from other Southeast European countries like Romania and Bulgaria. “This could indicate a shift in the network of human traffickers.”

The increase in the number of Chinese – 66 women and 12 men – is according to Comensha mainly due to the rumour that did the rounds in their community at the beginning of 2008 about a Dutch general amnesty in the runup to the Olympic Games. Many Chinese reported to asylum-seekers centres. Among them, some had a story to tell indicating forced labour.

The number of Nigerian victims declined from 102 to 62. There was however a big increase in the numbers from Sierra Leone. This indicates that, as in Southeast Europe, the trade from Africa may be relocating, Trouw said.

But the number of registered victims from the Netherlands also rose markedly. As in 2007, nearly 40 percent of all victims were Dutch girls or women forced into prostitution by boys or men who first pose as their friend and shower them with presents and attention. These pimps are euphemistically called ‘lover-boys.’

Meanwhile, on Thursday, a couple from the town of Hoofddorp was arrested on suspicion of smuggling “dozens” of Philippines via the Netherlands to other European countries, police have announced. The 57 year old man and his wife, 41, are still being held. The police are not ruling out more arrests.

Source: NIS News, 9 February 2009