Thursday 09 April 2020

‘Dutch government was aware Vietnamese children were being trafficked’

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The Dutch government has known for more than five years that Vietnamese children are disappearing from specialist refugee centres, investigative journalism programme Argos said on Monday.

Over the past five years, at least 60 Vietnamese children have vanished without trace from the protected housing where they lived because of fears they were at risk of being trafficked.

One of the organisations offering protected housing for young asylum seekers reported in 2015 that the disappearances are ‘a trend’.

‘This is a group with a 100% unknown destination disappearance rate,’ the Jade Zorggroep organisation said in a report to the central refugee settlement agency COA, after all the Vietnamese youngsters in its care vanished.

The four girls all had ‘brown suitcases of the same brand, lots of cash and telephones without simcards,’ the report said. ‘Two of the girls had sexy lingerie in their suitcases and they dyed their hair before they left.’

Last April the justice ministry agreed to a full investigation after it emerged over 1,000 refugee children, mostly teenagers, disappeared from protected refugee centres in the Netherlands between 2013 and 2017.

Herman Bolhaar, the Dutch rapporteur on human trafficking, said last year there is enough evidence that children are being exploited and that the government should be doing more to protect them and to find out what has happened to them.

The justice ministry report into the disappearances is due to be published this week.

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