Tackling the problem of loverboys

Loverboys are human traffickers who try to get girls to fall in love with them or manipulate girls in some other way. Once a loverboy has a girl under his influence he exploits her, for example by forcing her into the sex industry.

Measures to address the loverboy problem

The government has drawn up a letter to parliament explaining what the authorities are doing to tackle this problem, and setting out the progress and results achieved so far. The government’s measures include:

  • improving prevention  to stop people falling victim to loverboys in the first place;
  • improving the investigation and prosecution of loverboys; and
  • providing victims with services and protection.

Resources to improve the approach to tackling loverboys

In 2014 the Azough Commission drew up an action plan for helping girl victims of loverboys (in Dutch). The plan led to the development of new resources for victims of loverboys (in Dutch). They include practical advice on how to identify and register (suspected) victims for key actors:

  • youth workers;
  • mental health workers;
  • professionals working in institutions for people with minor intellectual disabilities;
  • municipalities’ neighbourhood social support teams.

The new resources also include giving (suspected) victims the best possible treatment and services.
In addition, there are now guidelines on how the police and the care and justice systems work together on this issue. And the Netherlands Youth Institute recently drew up a checklist that municipalities can use to check whether their policy on tackling the loverboy issue is adequate.

Tracking down loverboys online

The government wants to make it possible to use ‘decoy teens’ to identify loverboys, and has submitted a bill to the Senate to this end. The decoy is not really a teenager but a law enforcement official posing online as a minor. This bill could help the authorities catch loverboys online.