Many Dutch local authorities do not have proper measures in place to combat human trafficking and many doctors are unaware of the signs to look out for, according to a new report by the government’s special representative Corinne Dettmeijer.
In the report, published on Thursday, Dettmeijer says 35 of the country’s 380 local authorities have no idea if human trafficking is an issue in their area and 95% say they have no specific policies to deal with the problem.
Dettmeijer says the results are worrying because there is a misconception that human trafficking is only an issue in big cities. ‘The issue should be on the agenda everywhere to make sure we miss neither victims or traffickers,’ she said.
Earlier research says only one in six cases of human trafficking comes to the attention of the authorities.
In addition, doctors should be trained to looking out for the signs that people have been trafficked, she said. She referred to the case of a woman who made 17 visits to doctors – none of whom took action to stop the abuse she was suffering.
Half of doctors told the agency’s researchers they had seen someone they suspected of being a victim but only on in five of them took any form of action, the report said.