Recently I have been (more than once) asked the question, “Is human trafficking really an issue in the Netherlands, or are you just using the term to illicit an emotional response for your project?” I truly wish that I could say it is not an issue, but unfortunately human trafficking for sexual purposes does occur in the Netherlands, and worldwide--where you least expect it.
On the website, Dutch news, I came across an article from 2 October, 2015 that got me thinking about how girls are lured into human trafficking rings, right here at home. The article highlights research by the television show “Dit is de Dag”. The show found that pimps have lured at least 76 girls, who were living in institutions for people with learning disabilities, into prostitution since 2013. The sad fact is that the governmental human trafficking monitor believes that the real total is most likely far higher as most victims do not go to the police.
These girls are not being trafficked from other countries, but are Dutch citizens being ensnared in a vicious circle of abuse right here in the Netherlands. They are being preyed on because of their lack of understanding and mental innocence. So to answer the question that I am often asked…Yes, human trafficking for sexual purposes IS an issue right here… at home…That is why programs like Bijlmer Bridge2Hope are needed.
Awareness of the issue is important: Be informed. Be compassionate, Be willing to help.