Combating human trafficking

The government takes a comprehensive approach to combating human trafficking and enlists all parties that can help. It also offers victims support.

What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking includes recruiting, transporting or receiving and housing human beings through the use of force, for the purpose of exploiting them. There are different kinds of human trafficking:

  • Labour exploitation: when a worker is forced to hand over all or part of their income and/or has to work in inhumane conditions.
  • Sexual exploitation: when a person is forced to have sex in return for money, clothes or food, which must be turned over to the exploiter.
  • Criminal exploitation: when a person is forced to beg, steal or engage in other criminal activities, and hand over the goods or money to the exploiter.
  • Forced organ removal: when a person’s organs are removed by force.

More cooperation on stopping human trafficking

Victims of human trafficking face coercion, the use or threat of violence and deception. Often they are afraid or unable to go the police. Identifying human trafficking is important because victims may be dependent on people around them to enable them to escape from exploitation.

The programme Together against Human Trafficking is working to reduce the number of victims. This requires a complex approach, because human trafficking can only be tackled effectively in several different areas at once. This makes cooperation between different actors in the fight against human trafficking essential.

Helping professionals recognise human trafficking

In order to combat human trafficking it is vital that various parties work together. Recognising victims of human trafficking often involves spotting a combination of signs. Municipal front office staff, enforcement officers and inspectors may see these signs in the course of their duties. The Centre for Crime Prevention and Safety (CCV) provides guidance on how you should deal with signs of human trafficking. 

The national Coordination Centre against Human Trafficking has organised a Human Trafficking Academy. This website (in Dutch) provides an overview of training and educational courses on recognising human trafficking, with free e-learning modules, factsheets and tool kits.  

Helping victims of human trafficking

Central government has taken several measures to improve the assistance and support provided to victims of human trafficking, and ensure better access to these facilities.

One example is the National Referral Site for Human Trafficking. It explains what human trafficking is, how to recognise victims, what rights victims have and what arrangements are in place for them.

There are many organisations that identify and assist the victims of human trafficking. They include the Anti-Trafficking Coordination Centre (CoMensha) and the Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) Inspectorate. These organisations and others can be found on the National Referral Site for Human Trafficking.  

Reporting on human trafficking

The Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence against Children reports to the government on the nature and scale of these problems in the Netherlands. The Rapporteur provides an overview of policy on human trafficking and makes recommendations aimed at improving the Netherlands’ approach.

In order to produce its reports, the office of the National Rapporteur collects information from victim support services and organisations involved in preventing and combating human trafficking and sexual violence against children. The Rapporteur also maintains contacts with organisations abroad and international bodies.

The reports of the National Rapporteur on Human Trafficking and Sexual Violence against children (in Dutch) can be found on the website.