The Council of Europe on Thursday urged the Dutch authorities to take steps to prevent human trafficking, calling the Netherlands “a country of destination for victims.”
In the latest report monitoring the implementation of the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, the international human rights organisation expressed concern about the decrease in prosecutions and convictions for human traffickers in the Netherlands since the last analysis in 2018.
According to the report, 4,732 presumed victims of human trafficking were identified in the Netherlands between 2018 and 2022. Some 60% were women and 10% were minors.
Most of the victims, around half, were trafficked for sexual exploitation while a quarter were brought to the country to work.
Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary were the top countries of origin for victims, but 20% had Dutch nationality.
Fifty-one victims were from among the more than 80,000 refugees from Ukraine who have come to the Netherlands since the Russian invasion.
According to the report’s compilers, the Dutch do not have a robust enough monitoring system to detect victims of trafficking among asylum seekers and people living in immigration detention centres.
The report did highlight a number of positive developments in the past five years, noting there has been an increase in funding for organisations fighting human trafficking. Most municipalities in the country have also adopted anti-trafficking policies, the report said.
In September, Dutch campaign group CKM warned that laws to stop human trafficking are not being adequately enforced, leading to hundreds of victims staying under the radar for years.
The group said it was contacted by 229 people via its online support platform Chat met Fier in 2022, 40% of whom were under 18.
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