In every country around the world, people work for little or no pay, controlled by threats, debt, and violence. This is what we call: ‘’ Human Trafficking ‘’ or ‘’Modern Slavery’’. Nowadays, human trafficking is the most explosive growing crime. In this blog I am going to talk about what human trafficking is, what human trafficking means in the Netherlands, the prevention campaigns that are used in the Netherlands, and the most important: what can you do against human trafficking?

For those who are not familiar with human trafficking, here is a small explanation. Human trafficking is modern day slavery. It is the exploitation of humans by force, fraud or coerce. Human trafficking is a highly profitable crime and it is a violation of human rights. Unfortunately, it occurs in every county of the world. It happens in our countries, our cities, our suburbs, and even in the rural towns. Human trafficking can happen to anyone. The victims can be any age, race, or gender. The only thing they have in common is that they are vulnerable to be exploited. There are many types of human trafficking, a few examples are sex trafficking, forced labor and domestic servitude.

Also in the small country the Netherlands, human trafficking occurs. Human trafficking mostly affects women and girls who are forced to work in the sex industry. The Netherlands is a source and destination, especially for men, to go for the sex tourism in Amsterdam, also known as the Red-Light District. According to the US Department of State, the Netherlands is in the top five of origin of victims.

A very good example for human trafficking in the Netherlands is, that vulnerable Dutch girls getting involved with young traffickers, also known as loverboys. They act nice, sweet, and perfect to the girl in the first place, overwhelms them with gifts and beautiful promises, and manipulate them to take more distance between her and her family and friends. This makes them even more vulnerable than in the first place. This is the moment where the loverboys force the girls in unwanted sex with others for money.

Between 2011 and 2015 the victims of sexual abuse increased with 64%. This is a shocking figure. Still, not enough victims are known. This makes it more difficult to help and protect the victims. Moreover, the age of the victims dropped in the last few years. More victims are under the age of 14. Because of the new social media era, it is easier for loverboys to approach these young girls. The prototype of the loverboy is also changing, first there were mostly loverboys who, as mentioned above, have a lot of money, promises the girl endless love, and spoil them with gifts. Nowadays, you have more different types of loverboys.

The Walk Free Foundation is a Australian organization that commits to end the modern slavery and human trafficking, estimates that there are 45,8 million slaves worldwide. These figures are published through Global Slavery Index and are from June 2016. Also, Global Slavery Index estimated that there are more than 1,2 million slaves working in Europe, of which 17.500 in the Netherlands. These are only estimations, because not all victims are recognized or registered. Often victims feel anxious and unsafe, and avoid the police, because they are afraid of expulsion or revenge.

Which shocked me the most are the following figures:

  • 68% of the women working in prostitution have symptoms of PTSS (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome)
  • 90% want to step out, but feel like they are not able to do it.
  • Between 80 and 95 procent of the prostitutes had been victims of violence (rape, incest or other forms of sexual abuse) in her life before they became a prostitute)

The government of the Netherlands prevents and eliminates human trafficking fully to the minimum standards.  Human trafficking is investigated and prosecuted by the Dutch government. Furthermore, the government convicted a significant number of all human traffickers and identified a significant number of victims. In 2014, a plan was created to provide guidelines and training to identify human traffickers or people how are being trafficked. Also, they provided a standard procedure how to handle and deal with human traffickers for key ministries.  Furthermore, the government of the Netherlands changes the laws better, so the traffickers sued, arrested, or convicted easier.

There are a few organization that prevents human trafficking, here is one example. There is small chance that the victims go to the police themselves to do a declaration. That is why this Meld Misdaad Anoniem (name of the organization) trains, among other things, youth care, welfare services, youth and family centers, social workers at school and emergency services, to recognize signs of human trafficking.  In 2016 Meld Misdaad Anoniem started a new campaign on human trafficking. The focus of this campaign was prostitution of minors. The goal was to hand out brochures and give workshops how to recognize signs of human trafficking.

Another organization that is acting against human trafficking in the Netherlands, namely Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN). It is a hospitality organization in the Netherlands. Because prostitution is happening a lot in hotels this organization made a card with sighs for hotels and other hospitality related companies.


Anyone can join in the fight against human trafficking. Here are a few points that you can consider:

  • Learn the indicators of human trafficking so you can help recognizing a potential trafficking victim. Human trafficking awareness training are available for individuals.


  • If you are in the Netherlands and you believe that someone may be a victim of human trafficking, you can report this by calling Meld Misdaad Anoniem, you can also do this on their site anonymous. If you are not living in the Netherlands, just search for the right organization on the internet to report human trafficking.
  • Be conscious and informed about what you consume. Try to find, for example, out who picked you tomatoes, who made your clothes, or try to find out where your phone is coming from. There are a lot of companies who sell fair trade products. You probably will be shocked where every is coming from.
  • You can volunteer and support a anti trafficking organization.
  • Businesses: Provide jobs, internships, skills training, and other opportunities to trafficking survivors.
  • Students:Act on your campus. Join or establish a university club to raise awareness about human trafficking and initiate action throughout your local community. Consider doing one of your research papers on a topic concerning human trafficking.

I think it is important to me more aware of human trafficking. Slavery did not stop! It is getting worse and worse every day! Help and help trying to prevent human trafficking with the list mentioned above.

If you want to see how much slaves are working for you, you can do a simple test at Slavery Footprint. They will ask a few questions about your country, clothes, food, and your electronics. I was interested, so I did the test and found out that there are 35 slaves working for me, which really shocked me!! I think it is important to do this test to be more aware of human trafficking and the severity of it.


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