Home-based prostitutes often victims of trafficking or face other problems

Home-based prostitutes often victims of trafficking or face other problems

Police in The Hague and Rotterdam find evidence of human trafficking, benefit fraud and other irregularities at 60% of the home-based prostitutes they visit, the NRC said on Tuesday. Police in two cities have visited hundreds of home-based sex workers where they suspect there may be problems, the paper said. Signs that prostitutes are being exploited include low prices and services offered 24/7. The problems police find vary from people trafficking, tax evasion, benefit fraud, illegal occupation of a house to the presence of children while the mother is receiving customers. Police have voiced concern about a forthcoming law to abolish licenses for prostitutes who work from home in order to ‘normalise’ the profession. It would be ‘a disaster’ because it will obscure what is happening in the world of prostitution and worsen chances of detecting abuse, such as human trafficking, they say. Networks Another hindrance to police work is the fact that people traffickers are getting smarter. Women are moved in a network of houses and customers are being led to the address via different apps and messages. ‘They are keeping an eye on us,’ The Hague detective Jaap Werksma told the paper. Moreover, victims of people trafficking don’t want to talk out of fear, or because they feel it won’t help them. The public prosecution office wouldn’t say if the justice department is currently investigating crime networks involved in trafficking sex workers. ‘That would not be in the interest of the investigation,’ a spokesperson told the paper.  More >

Eight arrested at illegal cigarette plant

Eight arrested as police bust illegal cigarette factory in Brabant Police and finance ministry inspectors have closed down an illegal cigarette factory in the Brabant town of Oirschot and arrested eight people working on the production line. In total eight men aged 26 to 59 were arrested. They came from Lithuania, Latvia and Moldova - and the Moldovan national is staying in the Netherlands illegally, police said. Police also found 8.9 million cigarettes, 20,000 kilos of tobacco and enough filters and other supplies to produce 20 million more. The investigation began after officials noted unusual amounts of electricity were being used at the site. They first suspected they were dealing with a marijuana plantation because of the high power consumption and the amount of heat being generated. If the fake brand cigarettes had come on the market, they would have cost the treasury €3.2m in lost taxes, the finance ministry officials said.  More >

Ministers firm on child amnesty rules

Home-based prostitutes often victims of trafficking or face other problems Ministers have decided not to relax the rules governing the amnesty for child refugees, despite majority backing in parliament for change last week. 'The cabinet considers the formation of a new cabinet the appropriate moment to consider the wishes of the majority of the current parliament,' junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff said in a letter to the lower house. A majority of MPs want the rules to be changed, arguing they are currently being applied too strictly. Children can qualify for the amnesty if they have lived in the Netherlands for more than five years, have been under the supervision of an official organisation and are under the age of 18. However, hundreds of children still face deportation because they were not under official supervision. Being in touch with local councils and going to school is not sufficient to qualify for the amnesty because these bodies do not have a role in law in immigration policy, the Council of State said in 2015. The amnesty was agreed by Labour and the right-wing VVD as part of their coalition deal but has been heavily criticised by aid group Defence for Children and the UN’s children’s rights group Unicef.  More >

Dutch royals pose in the snow

Dutch royals pose in the snow ahead of skiing holiday The Dutch royal family took part in their traditional ski holiday photo session on Monday, with king Willem-Alexander joking about turning 50. ‘Life begins at 50,’ the king, who will reach the milestone in April, said. ‘Fifty is the new 30.’ The king, queen Maxima and three princesses always pose for the press at the start of their holiday in return for an commitment to leave them alone for the rest of the break. This year the photo session was without princess Beatrix, who was in Lech, Austria last week with princess Mabel and her daughters. It is five years ago that Mabel’s husband Friso was seriously injured in an avalanche after skiing off piste. He died in summer 2013 after spending 18 months in a coma.   More >

Humpback whale swims off Den Helder

Humpback whale spotted swimming in Den Helder naval base A humpback whale has been spotted swimming in the waters of the naval station in Den Helder, marine group SOS Dolfijn said on Monday. The whale appears to be healthy and is exhibiting normal behaviour, the organisation said. The naval base is closed to the public and the authorities have been warned to keep clear. Humpback whales are not uncommon in Dutch waters and have been spotted several times since 2003. 'They usually swim back to sea without any problems,' a spokeswoman for marine life centre Ecomare said. In 2012, a humpback whale beached off the Wadden island of Texel and died, despite the efforts of rescuers. Sinds vanochtend zwemt er een bultrug in de Marinehaven. Het dier toont normaal gedrag dus met rust laten is nu het advies. pic.twitter.com/sNboH9yMAg — SOSDolfijn (@SOSDolfijn) February 27, 2017   More >