Opstelten: Task Force strengthens and broadens approach to human trafficking

The Task Force on Human Trafficking will, in the next three years, further strengthen and broaden the fight against human trafficking, mostly focussing on the approach to labour exploitation, sexual exploitation and abuse in the prostitution sector. Minister Opstelten (Security and Justice) has decided to grant the Task Force a third period for this until 2017.

The approach to human trafficking has seen great improvement over the past few years. This is partly due to the integrated approach set up by the Task Force. In this approach, the National Police and the Public Prosecution Service work more and more closely with municipal authorities, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar), the Social Affairs and Employment Inspectorate (SZW Inspectorate), the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA), the Chamber of Commerce, NGOs (such as CoMensha) and private parties (such as the hotel industry and the agricultural and horticultural sectors).

The broadening allows for increased attention to signs of human trafficking from many different angles and organisations. This week, for instance, the IND began training staff members who come into contact with victims and perpetrators of human trafficking during their work. Various partners, including the police, KMar and NGOs, provide the IND with trainers for this purpose.

The next few years will also see a further broadening as, for example, the healthcare and youth care sectors and the criminal justice system will be more involved in the approach to human trafficking and issues concerning pimp boyfriends ('loverboys'). Within this framework - partly following a recommendation of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings - a national referral mechanism for human trafficking will be developed.  This referral mechanism should give victims and organisations involved more insight into who does what and when in order to support victims.

Moreover, the Centre for Crime Prevention and Public Safety (Centrum voor Criminaliteitspreventie en Veiligheid, CCV) will develop practical information and instructions for municipal authorities on the approach to sexual exploitation and other forms of human trafficking, such as forced labour and forced begging. In the performance of their administrative tasks, municipal authorities can play an important role in the detection and prevention of and fight against human trafficking, for example by picking up signs in time when people register and deregister from the municipal personal records database, when passports are issued and when permits are issued to companies and hotel and catering establishments.

International cooperation is also essential in view of the cross-border nature of organised gangs engaged in human trafficking. During the EU convention on human trafficking in Amsterdam in April last year, it was announced that the Netherlands and Hungary would cooperate on a more structural basis.  As a result, the Netherlands now cooperates with the most important Central and Eastern European source countries of human trafficking. Agreements with Bulgaria and Romania were made earlier. Since April last year, investigation services in the Netherlands and Hungary have cooperated in four major cases and a Joint Investigation Team was set up in December last year.