Campaign victims’ willingness to report sexual exploitation

Campaign victims’ willingness to report sexual exploitation

Every day hundreds of children and young people are exploited in our country. Many are forced to work in prostitution and find themselves trapped in a position they can’t easily escape from. Often they are too frightened and ashamed to report the situation.

On 12 June 2018, the Center Against Child Trafficking and Human Trafficking (CKM) started the national campaign ‘Make it Visible’ (‘Maak het zichtbaar’). With this campaign the CKM aims to draw attention to the problem of trafficking. The organization wants to make young people aware of the dangers of ‘loverboys’ and the importance of reporting the matter to the police. A police report is the only way to make those responsible for exploitation stop these practices.

At the center of the campaign was the report ‘You don’t report these things’ (‘Aangifte doe je niet’). This report describes the outcomes of a study into the willingness of young girls who have been victims of sexual exploitation to report the matter. Most underage victims of sexual exploitation in the Netherlands don’t report their experiences to the police due to fear of threats made by the trafficker and his network. On top of this, girls often don’t see themselves as a victim and the difficulties and time involved in criminal proceedings act as a strong deterrent to making a report. CKM presented this report to Ms Kuik (Christian Democratic Appeal party) and Ms van den Hul (Dutch Labor party).

Ms Kuik and Mr Segers (Christian Union party) then raised questions in the House of Representatives. The Minister of Justice and Security, Mr Grapperhaus, responded exceptionally fast by announcing a package of measures relating to trafficking, which he will present to the House after the summer recess. In addition to measures to encourage reporting, consideration will also be given to improving identification and support of victims. The police will start a pilot program to encourage young people to report exploitation and police staff will receive special training on this. Procedures have been initiated to improve access to justice and care for victims of sexual offences. Research is currently being carried out into the extent to which the police take a child-friendly approach when interviewing underage victims.

Adessium supports the partnership for “Systematic Change” between CKM, Fier, Terre des Hommes and Defence for Children, which has led to this campaign. To achieve an integrated approach to sexual exploitation of children and young people aged up to 23, the coalition targets its efforts at political parties, the judiciary and the public as a whole.

News article Volkskrant (Dutch text only)

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