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Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                     

Kingdom of the Netherlands (Holland)

The Netherlands has a prosperous and open economy, which depends heavily on foreign trade. The economy is noted for stable industrial relations, moderate unemployment and inflation, a sizable current account surplus, and an important role as a European transportation hub.

The pace of job growth reached 10-year highs in 2007, but economic growth fell sharply in 2008 as fallout from the world financial crisis constricted demand and raised the specter of a recession in 2009.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Netherlands

The Netherlands is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. During 2008, most female victims were exploited in forced prostitution, and the majority of identified sex trafficking victims were from the Netherlands. Within the Netherlands, victims are trafficked by so called “pimp boys” or “lover boys”—men who seduce vulnerable young women and girls and force them into prostitution.

Males were trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation as well as forced labor in the catering, cleaning, agriculture and construction sectors. The main countries of origin for male victims were China, India, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and the Netherlands.  - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here and possibly a full TIP Report here



CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Netherlands.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Canada Considers Further Legalizing While Amsterdam Admits Legalization's Failure

LifeSiteNews, Ottawa/Amsterdam, Wed Oct 05, 2005

[accessed 4 February 2016]

Policemen in Amsterdam's infamous red light district were quoted by Dutch media Friday as saying, "We are in the midst of modern slavery."  Due to the legalization of prostitution in the Netherlands in 2000, police are hampered in confronting the horrors that are characteristic of the sex trade.

Trafficked to the West

Jill McGivering, BBC News, Lithuania, 9 July 2005

[accessed 23 February 2011]

Last summer, she had been approached by a childhood friend, she told me.  He said he knew someone who was recruiting women to work as prostitutes in Holland.  Prostitution is illegal in Lithuania, but in Holland he said, she would make big money. Trusting him, she agreed.

Within weeks she arrived in Holland - only to find herself a prisoner in a brothel - sold by her friend to a Lithuanian gang.  For months she endured beatings, sexual abuse and a constant stream of clients.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Vietnamese kids missing from Dutch shelters victims of human trafficking: Rapporteur

Janene Pieters, NL Times, 26 March 2020

[accessed 26 March 2020]

A massive 97 percent of Vietnamese children taken in by the protected asylum shelter in the Netherlands have disappeared, according to the National Rapporteur on Human Trafficking and Sexual Violence against Children. "The suspicion that a large proportion of these children fall into the hands of human traffickers or people smugglers have been confirmed." The Netherlands must do something, Rapporteur Herman Bolhaar said, reports.

Bolhaar calls it beyond time for new measures to protect children coming to seek safety in the Netherlands. "I find it incomprehensible that this has not happened yet. The Dutch State is also responsible for these children," he said, according to the newspaper.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Netherlands

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 18 June 2021]


Isolated incidents of forced or compulsory labor occurred in the kingdom. Victims of coerced labor included both domestic and foreign women and men, as well as boys and girls (see section 7.c.) forced to work in, among other sectors, agriculture, horticulture, catering, domestic servitude and cleaning, the inland shipping sector, and forced criminality (including illegal narcotics trafficking). Refugees and asylum seekers, including unaccompanied children, are vulnerable to labor trafficking.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 4 May 2020]


While the Netherlands is a source, destination, and transit point for human trafficking, the government makes strong efforts to combat it, vigorously investigating and prosecuting suspected traffickers. In 2017, the government continued to implement its National Program against Child Pornography and Child Sex Tourism.

Training Related to Combating Human Trafficking: Netherlands

The Law Library of Congress

[accessed 15 March 2018]

ACTION PLAN 2011–2014 -- For the period 2011–2014, the Dutch government instituted the “Government-Wide Approach to the Loverboy Problem: Action Plan 2011–2014.”[3]   “Loverboy victims” is a term used to refer to Dutch underage female victims of human trafficking, although social workers have interpreted the term in various ways.[4]  According to the Action Plan report,

[c]onsiderable efforts have been made in the areas of prevention, investigation and prosecution in the last few years [in connection with the loverboy problem]. Various prevention projects have been started, curricula have been developed for primary and secondary schools, films have been produced and social media have been used for prevention campaigns. . . . Progress has also been made in relation to the investigation and prosecution of offenders. For example, in a two-year pilot project in Rotterdam, the police are developing innovative methods for establishing contact with victims and offenders, such as taking part in online chat sessions to investigate who is initiating contacts with underage girls and how they are doing it.

Brides for sale: European women lured for sham marriages

Sylvia Hui And Karel Janicek, Associated Press AP, 25 May 2015

[accessed 28 May 2015]

[accessed 4 May 2020]

Most brides get paid-for trips to Britain, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands, and some don't fully realize what they've gotten themselves into until they arrive. Women have been held captive until their marriage papers are signed, abused by their "husband" and his friends, used for sex and drug trafficking or even made to marry more than once, according to European authorities and charities.

"Depending on the case, a woman can be sold for thousands of euros," said Angelika Molnar, an anti-trafficking specialist at Europol. "I can tell you it is lucrative."

A tortuous tale of human trafficking

Clare Short, Birmingham Post, Jul 8 2008

[accessed 4 July 2013]

I asked what her problem was, and she said it was very complicated. She then started to weep quietly, big silent tears sliding down her cheeks. More than ten years ago, she was offered a job in Holland.  She signed a paper to say that she would repay the fare.  She left two children with relatives and said she would send money.

When she got to Holland, she was imprisoned in a flat and forced to work as a prostitute. She was paid nothing and had a terrible time, all along desperately worried about her children. After some time, she escaped and lived for a while homeless on the streets. She found she was pregnant.  She then met a kind Dutch man who took her home and cared for her. Her daughter was born and he suggested they marry.  They went to the Dutch authorities to try to regularise her position. They said she must return to Nigeria to apply to return. She agreed to do this because she wanted to be legal, but they would not let her take her daughter because she was born in Holland. Her daughter was taken into care.

Back home, the gang that trafficked her said she must repay $45,000. She explained that she had no money. They then burnt down her father’s house and later beat her so badly that she spent three months in hospital. She then escaped by coming to the UK and applying for asylum. Her Dutch partner comes to visit her regularly.  They have married in the UK, but she cannot go with him to Holland.  She cannot work in the UK. She cannot join her husband in Holland. She is terrified for her children in Nigeria and yearning to see her daughter who is now eight and in care in Holland.

Lenihan gets tough on people trafficking

Tom Brady, Security Editor,, October 26 2007

[accessed 23 February 2011]

[accessed 24 September 2016]

Dutch police say Nigerian children were controlled through Voodoo threats, trafficked into Amsterdam with false documents and then told to apply for asylum.  They were accommodated in care centres but were then forced out by the trafficking ring and sent as prostitutes to the other countries.  Police estimated that more than 130 girls went missing and some were later found on the streets of European capitals.

5 people detained for human trafficking

Expatica, Zwolle, 20 July 2007 – Source:

[accessed 23 February 2011]

Five individuals from Zwolle and Kampen aged between 18 and 25 have been detained on suspicion of human trafficking. By using the lover boy method three women became prostitutes, according to the police on Friday.

The case came to light after an attempt to find living accommodation for the 18-year-old victim. The person running the accommodation agency tipped off the police because he found the girl very young and suspected that she was forced into prostitution.

Netherlands To Give Residence To Human Trafficking Victims

NIS News Bulletin, The Hague, 17/08/06

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 9 September 2011]

Victims of human trafficking may stay in the Netherlands. Aliens Affairs Minister Rita Verdonk intends to relax the rules, she has written in a letter to the Lower House.   Until now, victims of human trafficking who wish to remain in the Netherlands permanently had to give reasonable arguments to show that return to their own country was too dangerous.

Dutch urge clients to report forced prostitution

Alexandra Hudson, Reuters, Amsterdam, January 12, 2006

[accessed 3 February 2016]

[accessed 13 June 2017]

The Netherlands launched a campaign on Thursday to fight forced prostitution by urging clients to alert police if they suspect women are being coerced into selling themselves.

Last year Dutch police received more than 600 tip-offs about women who may have been forced into prostitution, and 400 women contacted the Dutch foundation against female trafficking.

Tatiana's Story

Stop Human Traffic, Anti-Slavery International,1309,2.html

[accessed 31 August 2014]

PROSTITUTION - UKRAINE TO HOLLAND - Like most victims of trafficking, Tatiana's reason for traveling abroad was to support her family. Through an agent in Belarus, she arranged to move to Holland to work as a waitress. A number of the agent's contacts assisted her in her journey from Belarus, through Germany to Holland, and everything went smoothly, until she arrived.

One in 12 children forced into world's 'worst forms' of labor

Agence France-Presse AFP, London, February 21, 2005

[accessed 20 April 2012]

[accessed 7 February 2018]

UNICEF UK lauded the pledge of developed countries, made more than 30 years ago, of allocating 0.7 percent of gross domestic product to development aid but regretted that only five countries today fulfill that promise -- Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Sweden.

Sexual Exploitation - ECPAT The Netherlands

Defence for Children International The Netherlands

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 9 September 2011]

[accessed 7 February 2018]

ECPAT-NL exists since 1995 and as of 2003 is a cooperative with Defence for Children International The Netherlands. ECPAT-NL works closely with organisations in The Netherlands and internationally that are active against sexual abuse and exploitation of children. ECPAT-NL is supported by stichting Kinderpostzegels Nederland, Plan Nederland ( the former Foster Parents Plan), Mensen in Nood, Cordaid and Kerk in Actie, Kinderen in de Knel.

ECPAT-NL is raising awareness on commercial sexual exploitation of children in Dutch society. ECPAT-NL is also lobbying for adequate and effective law enforcement and prevention and healthcare programmes regarding the prevention of sexual exploitation of children at governmental and societal level. Also the private sector, like internet service providers and the tourism industry are addressed to take responsibility to protect children from sexual exploitation. ECPAT-NL has played an important role in the development, execution and monitoring of the Dutch National Action Plan 'Sexual Abuse of children'.

human traffic, human rights: redefining victim protection [PDF]

Anti-Slavery International -- Sources: Stichting Tegen Vrouwenhandel 'Foundation against Trafficking in Women' (STV), and other sources

[accessed 4 July 2013]

[page 69]  Katya and Anna - Two women, Katya and Anna from Eastern Europe were trafficked to the Netherlands and forced to work in prostitution. After several months, they were found in a police raid. Although the police offered them the reflection delay, they did not use it and reported the traffickers immediately.  They were both very co-operative with the police and were ready to report the traffickers because they were angry that they had been deceived and forced into prostitution. They were provided with shelter and counselling co-ordinated through STV. They testified against their traffickers at the Prosecutor's Office and again during the trial in the presence of the defendant. Other victims of the same traffickers also testified. Most of their traffickers were convicted; one was charged under article 250ter and article 242 (rape) and sentenced to five years. The investigation was completed within two months, and the trial of the first traffickers took one year. The statements of Katya and Anna were crucial to the success of this case.

South Africa regional centre for human trafficking

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Johannesburg, 23 June 2004

[accessed 9 March 2015]

Upon arrival, as the IOM discovered in the Netherlands, the women are sold to brothel owners for $10,000, and told they must work as prostitutes to pay off their debts. "The initiation process involves a ritual used to threaten the women," Martens said. They are asked for underwear, hair or nail clippings and threatened with death by magic if they do not cooperate. The IOM discovered that some brothels even brand or tattoo the women.

Humans for Sale

Cape Cod Times, February 9, 2004

[accessed 31 August 2014]

Sasha, a single mom in her late 20s, struggled to make ends meet. Tired of working low-wage, dead-end jobs in the Czech Republic, she impulsively accepted a "friend's" offer for a better job in the Netherlands.  She left her daughter with family, with the intention of mailing money home and eventually returning.

But when Sasha arrived in Amsterdam, she was told to work in the "Red Light" district, where men window-shop for prostitutes.  "She was told that if she did not work, her daughter would be killed back home," said John R. Miller, director of the U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. "She was also told that if she worked hard, if she saw 15 men a night instead of the usual 10, she would be reunited with her daughter sooner."

US Foreign Policy and its Impact on Women: International Trafficking in Women [DOC]

Citizens Education Committee, The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, February 2005

[accessed 4 July 2013]


[accessed 4 May 2020]


KATYA - Katya, with a 2-year-old daughter and a failing marriage in the Czech Republic, followed the advice of a “friend” that she could make good money as a waitress in the Netherlands. A Czech trafficker drove her, along with four other young women, to Amsterdam where, joined by a Dutch trafficker, Katya was taken to a brothel. After saying “I will not do this,” she was told, “Yes, you will if you want your daughter back in the Czech Republic to live.” After years of threats and forced prostitution, Katya was rescued by a cab driver. She is now working at a hospital and studying for a degree in social work.

KHAN - Traffickers took Khan, an 11-year-old girl living in the hills of Laos, to an embroidery factory in Bangkok. There she and other children worked 14 hours a day for food and clothing, but no wages. After protesting, Khan was beaten. After further protests, Khan was stuffed into a closet where the factory owner’s son shot her in the face with a BB gun and poured industrial chemicals over her. Khan was rescued and is now receiving plastic surgery and counseling at a Thai government shelter.

Joint NGO Statement on the draft European Convention against Trafficking in Human Beings [PDF]

Amnesty International, 1 November 2004

[accessed 4 February 2016]

[accessed 7 February 2018]

3. We welcome the recognition by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers that there is a need to develop additional standards which improve the protection of the rights of trafficked persons. We therefore welcome the Committee of Minister’s mandate to the Ad Hoc Committee on Action against Trafficking (CAHTEH) to draft a European Convention against Trafficking in Human Beings which designs a comprehensive, gender-sensitive framework for the protection of the human rights of trafficked persons focusing on prevention, investigation, prosecution and international cooperation.

Research based on case studies of victims of trafficking in human beings in 3 EU Member States, i.e. Belgium, Italy and The Netherlands [PDF]

Commission of the European Communities, DG Justice & Home Affairs, Hippokrates JAI/2001/HIP/023

Bruno Moens, Country Report, Belgium

Isabella Orfano,, Country Report, Italy

Ruth Hopkins and Jan Nijboer. Country Report, The Netherlands

[accessed 22 January 2011]

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 9 September 2011]

[accessed 28 May 2017]

[page 397]  EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - This project was carried out in Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands concerning trafficking for the purposes of sexual and/or labour exploitation in countries other than the origin as well as victims of smuggling. The outset of the project was: to identify the practices and mechanisms of transnational crime related to trafficking, to contribute towards recommendations policy and to defines durable solutions for preventing and combating THB.

General recommendations are provided in 14 clusters. However, in each country report, the researchers offer an assessment of national laws and policies on THB as well as their assistance programs.

CULTURE: Activities

The Convention on the Rights of the Child

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 9 September 2011]

2. HOW IS SEX DISCRIMINATION EXPRESSED? - EXAMPLE 3 - The Council of Europe began collecting data in the late 1980s and, in a submission to the Council in 1988, it was estimated that some 5,000 boys and 3,000 girls were working in the streets of Paris alone, although this estimate was later queried. The non-governmental organisation Defence of the Child International has cited 1,000 children working as prostitutes in the Netherlands.

[Source: World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children]

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - 2009

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 30 January 2009

[accessed 23 February 2011]

24. The Committee is concerned that the State party’s legislation does not criminalise the production or dissemination of materials advertising the sale of children, child prostitution or child pornography, but notes information from the State party that it is currently working to decide whether supplementary legislation is desirable to ban such advertisement.

26. The Committee is concerned that a number of cases of illegal adoptions have been reported recently, and that improperly inducing consent in cases of adoption is not covered by the penal legislation.

28. The Committee welcomes that the State party provides permanent residency permits to child victims of sale and trafficking and that it will only repatriate victims if, after investigation, it is determined to be in their best interests. However, the Committee is concerned about the reception, supervision and provision of care to child victims of offences prohibited under the Optional Protocol.


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 10 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Trafficking within the country was also a problem. Of the 405 trafficking victims registered in 2004, 51 were living in the country at the time they were seduced into prostitution by so-called lover boys, primarily young Moroccan or Turkish men and boys. The victims were young, mostly immigrant women. In January the government set up the national expertise center for youth prostitution to collect figures, background information, and the best practices in fighting youth prostitution and lover boys. Various organizations and local governments initiated specific assistance and prevention programs for potential victims of "lover boys."

Most traffickers used threats of violence to the victim, or to the victim's family, to control their victims. Underage girls and young women of Moroccan and Turkish descent (mostly lover boy victims), underage asylum seekers, women with a dependent residence status (pseudo marriage), and women recruited in Africa were most vulnerable to becoming victims of trafficking.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - 2004

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 30 January 2004

[accessed 23 February 2011]

[56] The Committee welcomes the State party’s efforts in the Netherlands to address the sexual exploitation of children, in particular, through training of the police. However, it is concerned that the “complaint requirement” by victims over the age of 12 and the “double criminality” requirement hamper the prosecution of cases of child sexual abuse committed in the Netherlands and abroad. In Aruba, the Committee is concerned that children are vulnerable to trafficking for the purposes of drug trafficking or sexual exploitation, including through tourism.

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