Wednesday 20 January 2021

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

Police badge and radio.

Photo: Depositphotos.com

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.

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