Trafficking in Human Beings. Visible and Invisible.

Trafficking in Human Beings. Visible and Invisible.

Last April, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Malström warned that the conviction rates in EU countries are generally decreasing. In the Netherlands, however, we now see the opposite. In 2012, 71 percent of prosecutions ended in a conviction in first instance, as opposed to 60 percent in the year before. In 2011 that rate was no more than 60 percent.

More prosecutions, more convictions

The number of prosecutions rose from 257 to 311. The majority of defendants are male (80 %), their average age is 30. About one third (37%) of defendants are Dutch nationals, followed by Bulgarian, Hungarian and Romanian nationals. Defendants often originate from the same region as their victims. Not always though. Dettmeijer: “I see that about 30 percent of the known victims are from sub-Sahara Africa; yet hardly any defendants from that region are brought before our courts. As yet, I have no explanation for this trend.”

Underreporting of child victims

The Netherlands is a source, destination and transit country for trafficking in human beings. Greater awareness has led to more victims being identified each year.  1,222 victims were reported in 2011; the number for 2012 appears to exceed 1,700. “To some it comes as a shock that we are a source country. As a matter of fact, no less a third of the known victims are Dutch women and girls. Victims of domestic trafficking, often exploited sexually.” says Rapporteur Dettmeijer. Forty percent of all known victims are women in the age of 18 – 23, some have only just turned 18, whilst 16 percent are still minors.