Van der Steur releases extra funds to tackle human trafficking

Minister Van der Steur (Security and Justice) is making extra money available to pay for additional capacity and expertise to tackle human trafficking. In 2017 the first million Euros of extra money will be invested in more detectives certified to take on human trafficking cases. The availability of information will also be improved by deploying more analysts at the Expertise Centre for Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling (EMM) and thanks to the training of police personnel in the front line, more is being invested in heightened alertness to the signs of human trafficking. As from 2018 this amount will be increased to 2 million Euros per year on a long-term basis, raising the fight against human trafficking to a higher plane.
Minister Van der Steur informed the Lower House of these matters in a letter about the details of the draft budget for 2017. The Human Trafficking Monitor 2011-2015 of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence against Children showed that there was a decrease of results in the tackling of human trafficking last year. In the previous years by contrast, a great deal was achieved thanks to the integral approach adopted by police, the Public Prosecution Service (OM), Royal Netherlands Military Constabulary (KMar), Inspectorate SZW and the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).
The fight against human trafficking came under pressure in 2015 mainly because of the increased flow of refugees and the focus on tackling human smuggling. The reorganisation of the police also meant that fewer specialised vacancies were filled in the Aliens, Identification and Human Trafficking Divisions (AVIMs). This meant there was less attention devoted to human trafficking, with fewer registered victims, fewer criminal cases and lower sentences as a result.
More capacity and expertise
For Minister Van der Steur the decline of results in tackling human trafficking is ‘undoubtedly a cause for concern’. This is why he consulted the police, OM and KMar in an effort to come up with measures that will reverse the decline. The result of those consultations is a set of specific measures designed to improve capacity and expertise.
The extra money will be used to expand the current number of about 400 certified detectives, qualified to run human trafficking cases, by about 5% over the coming years. The police will bring the capacity of the AVIMs up to standard. The availability of information during investigative work will also be improved by expanding the number of analysts at the EMM. And the level of alertness to the signs of human trafficking will be heightened through special training for all first-line police personnel.
These new investments in expertise and capacity in combination with the reduced pressure from migration should lead to the signs of human trafficking being detected more frequently and therefore to a greater number of investigations. The quality and seriousness of the cases brought before the courts is also expected to increase, as is the severity of the punishments.