On-line signpost to help victims in the fight against human trafficking

The new website www.wegwijzermensenhandel.nl was launched today. This new website serves as a sort of signpost, pointing out who does what to help victims of human trafficking and when they get involved. A great many parties are involved in helping victims of human trafficking. This on-line 'signpost' offers one central point for professionals, victims and civilians to find one another. The website is maintained by the Ministry of Security and Justice, in cooperation with Victim Support Netherlands and CoMensha.

In the letter he submitted to the House of Representatives today, Minister van der Steur of Security and Justice states that he believes "the importance of providing proper, clear-cut and easily accessible support to be self-evident". The letter also refers to the latest figures published by the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings. These figures show that, in 2014, the number of registered victims of human trafficking has increased once again. At the same time, as has been the case in all previous years, there is a lot of variance as concerns both the backgrounds of the victims and the ways they are exploited.

Because of this variance, it is impossible to tackle human trafficking using one single approach. Human trafficking involves sexual and labour exploitation, forced begging and forced criminal activities. Both adults and minors fall victim to these serious crimes and they come from both the Netherlands and abroad. The request for assistance of victims ranges from reception, medical or psychological care, legal and practical assistance to tracking down the perpetrator. This is what makes providing help to victims and imposing punishment on perpetrators so complex.

The on-line signpost is established by the national referral mechanism on human trafficking, a cooperative venture of the Ministry of Security and Justice, the Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. Its aim is to make it easier for victims and assistance workers to be referred to the organisations relevant to them at that point in time, like shelter and care institutions, or the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund. Proper and early detection by professionals often also helps in bringing the perpetrators of human trafficking to justice.