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The Netherlands

The Netherlands

Country Profile

Action Plan on Trafficking in Persons – Smuggling of Migrants

Combatting Human Trafficking is a priority of the government.  The Ministry of Security and Justice (VenJ) is responsible for the  national TBH policy coordination, and all relevant ministries are  committed to the National Action Plan, which was sent to the  House of Representatives on November 13, 2018.  

National Action Plan, “Together against Human Trafficking,”  was presented in November 2018 and has five main  priorities: 

  • Further development of the basic approach to tackling  human trafficking 

  • Further development of the approach to tackling labour exploitation 

  • Victim and perpetrator prevention 

  • Strengthening the municipal approach to tackling human trafficking 

  • Sharing knowledge and information

Related Action Plans  

Though the Netherlands has a strong human rights record, a number of problems related to child  abuse and commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) have emerged in recent years. The  Dutch government does not differentiate between cases of child prostitution and trafficking of  children for sexual purposes. Most Dutch children exploited in prostitution are victims of pimps who  lure their girlfriends into prostitution, commonly known as “loverboys.” Child prostitution is typically  relegated to private venues, with children rarely exploited as street sex workers or in red light  districts, as pimps are aware that child prostitution is a criminal act and that police checks are usually  stringent.  

In addition of the TIP National Action Plan, there are two action plans relevant to CSEC issues in the  Netherlands.  

  • The National Action Plan against Sexual Abuse of Children from the Year 2000 sought  to provide better support services for victims, lower levels of recidivism, and improved standards  among staff; however, recognizing continuing gaps, in 2007 the government passed the Action  Plan Tackling Child Abuse “Children Safely Home.” There is still limited evidence of  concrete results from these plans.  

  • The NPA to Combat Child Pornography created a National Police Unit to improve  coordination among police in the enforcement of child pornography laws and plans to monitor  the national database and identify victims.

Institutional Framework

The institution/s in charge of identifying VOTs or traffickers in the  field 

The identification is done by various entities and under the  overall coordination of AVIM. 

The Aliens, Identification and Human Trafficking (AVIM)  units of the National Police supervise compliance with the  Aliens Act. The Aliens Police also conduct identity investigations  and combat criminal activities such as human trafficking, migrant  smuggling, and identity fraud. 

National Police TIP hotlines: 0800-6070 or 112 (emergency  line) or via website.  

Royal Netherlands Marechaussee and Border Police (KMar): The Royal Netherlands  Gendarmerie (KMar) has a military status. The KMar also plays the role of border police. Through its  role as border police, KMar intercedes with victims of cross-border trafficking, in addition to other  forms of human trafficking. When KMar detects signals of trafficking, and where possible, immediate  action is taken (e.g. arrest of individuals) and the information is shared with the Human Trafficking  and Migrant Smuggling Expertise Center (EMM) for further analysis. KMar refers victims to  CoMenSha for placement in a shelter. The Supervision division (BG) within the Alien Affairs brigade  of the Schiphol District handles the return of foreign nationals who do not have lawful residence  status in the Netherlands to their country of origin; such foreign nationals may include victims of  human trafficking.  

Labour Inspectorate of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (ISZW): Among  its other supervisory and investigative tasks related to compliance with regulations on safe working  conditions and illegal employment, ISZW has the duty to detect “fraud, exploitation and organized  crime within the chain of work and income (labour exploitation, human trafficking and large scale  fraud in the area of social security).” It carries out this function under the direction of the Public  Prosecution Service.  

ISZW’s TIP hotline tel: 0800 5151 (free), +31 70 333 4444, or via the website.

Agency responsible for border management and control of entry and  exit from the country 

Royal Netherlands Marechaussee and Border Police  (KMar): The Royal Netherlands Gendarmerie (KMar) has a  military status. The KMar also plays the role of border police.  Through its role as border police, KMar intercedes with victims  of cross-border trafficking, in addition to other forms of human  trafficking. KMar is responsible for border controls (including  detecting TIP and SOM) at all airports, major seaports, and  mobile controls of the borders with Belgium and Germany. 

National Actors Addressing Smuggling of Migrants 

The Joint Team on Combating People Smuggling (GMST) consists of representatives from:  

  • Public Prosecution Service (OM) – coordinating body of the National Public Prosecutor for  Trafficking in Human Beings and People Smuggling and Flexible Liaison Prosecutor for People  Smuggling  

  • Royal Military and Border Police (KMar) 

  • National Police 

  • Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) 

  • Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) 

  • Expertise Centre on Human Trafficking and People Smuggling (EMM) 

  • National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV)

National Coordinating Bodies 

The National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human  Beings and Sexual Violence against Children is an  independent body that monitors the government’s policy and  actions and reports on the nature and extent of trafficking in  the Netherlands. It was established in and supported by the  Act. he Bureau of the Dutch Rapporteur keeps in contact with  and gathers information from authorities, organizations, and  individuals involved in the prevention and combatting of human  trafficking and sexual violence against children and in giving  assistance to victims. For their information, the Rapporteur and  his staff have access to criminal files held by police and judicial  authorities. Because human trafficking and sexual violence against children often have an international  element to them, the bureau also has many contacts abroad and cooperates with international  organizations.

The Ministry of Security and Justice (VenJ) is responsible  for coordinating national policy against trafficking. The Task  Force on Human Trafficking also has a coordinating role. It  identifies problem areas, initiates policy measures, and creates  and disseminates best practices. The task force is a network  of parties—such as the Public Prosecution Service, the police,  municipalities, and civil society organizations—that monitors  developments and draws up the national plans. 

The main fields of action and the organizations responsible for  their implementation are:  • The integrated approach: 

  • Public Prosecution Service  (OM), the police, the Ministry of Security and Justice, and  municipalities 

  • The administrative approach: VenJ, municipalities 

  • Labour exploitation: the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) 

  • Exchange of information: the police, VenJ, municipalities, Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar),  National Rapporteur 

  • Aspects of immigration law: the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK), IND

  • Victim shelter, care, and situation: Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports (VWS), CoMensha,  National Rapporteur, Municipalities, VenJ 

  • International cooperation: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (BZ), VenJ 

  • Judiciary: Judiciary, OM 

  • Pandering (the so-called “Pimps” or “loverboys”): VenJ, municipalities, VWS 

  • Organized crime and confiscation of criminal funds: OM, police 

  • Internet: VenJ, police, SZW, KMar


General Information 

As reported over the past five years, the Netherlands is  predominantly a country of destination for victims of trafficking  in human beings (TIP), but also to an increasing extent a  country of origin as well as a country of transit. Traffickers  exploit domestic and foreign victims in the Netherlands.  Most identified victims are Dutch girls enticed by young male  traffickers, known as “loverboys,” who coerce vulnerable girls  into sexual exploitation. Sex traffickers exploit foreign victims  to forced prostitution, and labour traffickers exploit men  and women from Eastern Europe, Africa, and South and East  Asia in industries such as inland shipping, leisure river cruises,  agriculture, horticulture, hospitality, domestic servitude, and  forced criminal activity. Refugees and asylum seekers, including  unaccompanied children, are vulnerable to labour trafficking.  Criminal groups force Romani children into pickpocketing and  shoplifting rings. The Netherlands is a source country for child  sex tourists. Over the last five years, more than 1,600 foreign  children have left refugee centres to unknown destinations and  remain highly vulnerable to exploitation.  

Main Trends and Figures 

The recently published Human Trafficking Victims Monitor  2013-2017 (Slachtoffermonitor Mensenhandel 2013-2017)  of the Rapporteur (2018) shows that there were 958 victims of TIP registered by CoMensha.  Approximately 72% of the victims were female, and 27% were male. The gender of the remaining  1% of the registered victims was unknown. On average, almost half of the registered victims are  under the age of 23 years (45,9%). About 58% of the presumed victims were trafficked for the  purpose of sexual exploitation, and 21.7% were subjected to other forms of exploitation. Roughly  36% of the victims were Dutch citizens. The majority of the foreign victims originated from  European Union (EU) countries (Romania, Bulgaria, and Poland), followed by victims originating from  countries in Africa and Asia (Nigeria, Uganda, and Viet Nam). 

In 2019, the International Center for Migration (IOM) assisted for voluntary return: 3,035 migrants,  1,075 cases assisted with reintegration assistance, including 10 victims of trafficking, and 17  unaccompanied children. The top three return countries were Albania, Republic of Moldova, and  Azerbaijan.

The Netherlands

Existing Mechanisms

Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrant (SOM) Hotlines

TIP/SOM- + 31 033 448 1186

Others (Children protection/ assistance) - 112 (emergency number); 0900 88 44 (local police); 0800 5151 or +31 70 333  4444 from abroad (ISZW)


  • To report a case of labour exploitation in a situation that may put the informer or a third party  at risk, please contact a Criminal Intelligence Unit (TCI) helpline: 

  • Netherlands (west) +31 6 23 86 6145 

  • Netherlands (south) +31 6 10 78 2117 

  • Netherlands (northeast) +31 6 10 21 3445 

  • Amsterdam, North Holland, and Flevoland +31 6 83 12 0468 

More information on how to report can be found on the National Referral Site for Human  Trafficking/Whom to Report to

National Referral Mechanism (NRM) and/or Standard Operating  Procedures (SOP)  

There is no official National Referral Mechanism (NRM). All information on referral of victims was  consolidated by the government into a National Referral website that functions as an NRM.

The National Referral website is a platform designed to help professionals find the appropriate  support for victims of human trafficking. This site contains information on the various stages and  steps in the support process for victims of human trafficking, the laws and regulations that apply, and  the organizations that can provide further assistance.  

  • If frontline actors identify a VOT that is in need of protection, they have to report the victim to  the NGO CoMensha, which also runs a helpdesk (+31 33  448 1186). CoMensha can refer victims to the different  shelters available in the Dutch care system. CoMensha can  also refer cases to local care coordinators that are  responsible for organizing care to VOTs in their region. 

  • CoMensha is also the official registration body for all  (presumed) VOTs. All relevant agencies are instructed to  treat a person as a presumed victim of trafficking when  there is the “slightest indication” of TIP, and to report all  such cases to CoMensha. 

Law Enforcement Agencies Responsible for Investigating Cases of  Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrant (SOM)

Criminal investigations, including those concerning TIP offences, are almost exclusively carried out  by AVIM, KMar, ISZW (labour exploitation), and the Public Prosecution Service (PPS). 

  • AVIM (Aliens, Identification and Human Trafficking)  units of the National Police supervises compliance with  the Aliens Act. The Aliens Police also conducts identity  investigations and combats criminal activities such as human  trafficking, migrant smuggling, and identity fraud. The  National Police has hotlines to report TIP: 0800-6070 or  112 (emergencies) or via their website

  • Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar) The Royal  Netherlands Gendarmerie also serves as the military and  border police of the Netherlands. The Royal Netherlands  Gendarmerie has a policing function at airports, is  responsible for the control of the Schengen borders,  and conducts mobile surveillance operations along the  borders with Belgium and Germany. The Royal Netherlands  Gendarmerie is often called upon to identify victims of  trafficking in human beings during its checks and mobile  supervision operations. When possible, the signs are  immediately followed up by appropriate measures (arrest  of the trafficker(s), care for the victims) and, when possible,  the information is immediately forwarded to the Expertise  Center on Trafficking in Human Beings and Migrant Smuggling. The Royal Gendarmerie is also  authorized to fight against cases of illegal trafficking of migrants and against the fraud of identity  and travel documents. 

  • Inspectorate ISZW: On January 1, 2012, the Labour Inspectorate, the Work and Income  Inspectorate, and the Social Security Intelligence and Investigation Service of the Ministry of Social  Affairs and Employment were brought together to form the Inspectorate SZW. The department  for Analysis, Programming and Detection, which is part of the Inspectorate SZW, is responsible  for inspectorate policy and international contacts. The Investigation Department, part of the  Inspectorate SZW, is a Special Investigation Service. Its main tasks and responsibilities include  criminal investigation into fraud, exploitation and organized crime within the field of labour and income, including labour exploitation and social security fraud.  

  • The Public Prosecution Service (PPS): PPS directs criminal investigations and is solely  authorized for decisions about the prosecution of criminal offences. It is responsible for drawing  up instructions that describe how investigation and prosecution of various types of crime should  be handled, which manifestations of these crimes have priority, and how to handle victims  and witnesses. One of the priorities of PPS is to combat trafficking in human beings. In this  connection, Instructions on Human Trafficking (2008.A022) have also been developed.

Identity and Travel Documentation Investigation and Forensic Lab 

  • AVIM and KMar are responsible for verifying identity of migrants they come across. KMar  investigates travel and other documents.  

The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations is  responsible for the quality, security, and integrity of identity  documents. The Netherlands has embedded expertise in  the recognition of counterfeit documents within various  organizations and procedures (such as border controls and  asylum procedures). Since 2005, the Expertise Centre for  Identity Fraud and Documents (ECID) of the Royal  Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar) has been located  at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. ECID provides national  support and coordination in the area of identity fraud and the  examination of documents. it works in close collaboration with  the Department of International Police Information (IPOL) of  the Netherlands Police Agency (KLPD) and AVIM.

Technical Working Groups

  • Combatting trafficking in human beings is a high priority for the Dutch police. Given the  complexity of the phenomenon, all 26 police forces (25 regional forces and KLPD) have an  expert on TIP who has judicial, social, and psychological skills as well as operational know-how.  The task of these experts is to identify opportunities for combatting TIP within their region,  to improve the knowledge of their colleagues, and to advise their police chief on TIP related  matters. Together, these experts form the National Expert Group on TIP (LEM), which  meets every month. It has also developed a training programme that is available to the police  forces. 

  • The Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) is responsible for implementing the  Residency Regulation Human Trafficking regulation for victims of trafficking in human beings. IND has appointed special contact persons for the implementation of this task, and applications for  residence permits are only dealt with by or through these contact persons. IND also plays an  important role in recognizing and passing on signs to relevant investigative authorities (including  the police). Within IND, special organizational units have been established, including  the People Smuggling and Human Trafficking Information Group (Mensensmokkel  en- handel Informatiegroep, MIG) and the Information and Analysis Centre (Informatie en  Analysecentrum, INDIAC), which record information centrally with regard to migration crime.

Agency in charge of Trafficking in Persons (TIP)/Smuggling of Migrants  (SOM) data collection and processing

There is no single agency that is in charge of collecting data. CoMensha is responsible for collection  of data on victims; the information serves as a basis for the National Rapporteur.  

  • CoMensha: One of the main tasks of CoMensha is to register the number of presumed  trafficked persons in the Netherlands. For this, it receives a subsidy from the central government.  CoMensha records facts about the nature and extent of the identified victim population in the  Netherlands. The police, Kmar, and the Inspectorate SZW are obligated to report to CoMensha.  This obligation is defined in Residency Regulation Human Trafficking regulation of the Alien Act  2000 and in the instructions on investigating and prosecuting the crime of human trafficking of  the Board of Procurators General. Other organizations, such as NGOs, shelters, lawyers, IOM,  and social workers also report presumed victims to CoMensha, but they are not obliged to do  so. CoMensha publishes monthly reports of the data on victims on its website.

  • Bureau of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual  Violence Against Children (BNRM): The National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human  Beings, supported by its bureau, maintains contact with and collects information from persons,  organizations, and institutions that are active in the prevention and combatting of trafficking  in human beings and shelter for victims. This includes information from CoMensha (about  background characteristics of the victims), the Public Prosecution Service (about the prosecution  of human traffickers), the Immigration and Naturalization Service (about the background  characteristics of victims who have received a Residency Regulation Human Trafficking regulation  residency permit), and the Central Fine Collection Agency (about compensation imposed for  victims). The National Rapporteur and its employees are authorized to examine police files and  those held by the Public Prosecution Service. The reports by BNRM, including the trafficking  data, are published on its website.

Protection and Assistance to Victims of Trafficking Agencies

Competent authority and mechanism used to officially identify and  recognize a person as a VOT

There is no official recognition status for VOTs. AVIM and KMar can also refer identified  and presumed victims of TIP for residency authorization and whereby the reflection period can be  implemented, and temporary residency rights and access to services can be obtained (ISZW refers  victims to AVIM to be registered in the framework). 

For victims of TIP who are in the Netherlands illegally, the possession of a residence permit is the  key condition for treatment. It is also a crucial factor for the victim to be able to cooperate in the  criminal investigation and prosecution. Victims of TIP are subject to the residence permit scheme for  victims of TIP that is administered by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (NID).

Assistance Services and Contacts  

Assistance agencies can be found on the National Referral website.  The Ministry of Security and Justice (Venj) has appointed a project manager to support regions  to develop of effective policies to combat human trafficking. This project manager will provide a  nationwide network for shelter for victims of human trafficking. In addition, CoMensha has appointed a  project manager to provide support and bring knowledge and expertise up to date in all regions.

Cross-Border Cooperation

International Cooperation Agreements - Cross Border and Extradition Treaties

At the regional and International levels, in addition of the legal instruments with the UN and the EU,  Netherlands has signed the following bilateral agreements: 

  • The Benelux Treaty concerning cross-border police intervention (Senningen Treaty), Trb. 2005,  35, 8.6.2004  

  • The Treaty between the Netherlands and Germany concerning cross-border cooperation  by police and in criminal law matters (Treaty of Enschede), Trb. 2005, 86 and 241, 2.3.2005. 

  • National legislation in which these treaties and EU legislative acts are implemented  includes, but is not limited to:  

  • Article 17 of the Police Data Act and paragraph 5 of the Police Data Decree, which contain  the provisions that make it possible to exchange data on TIP under the mentioned treaties  and EU legislative acts.  

  • Title X of the Fourth Book of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which contains provisions  regarding mutual legal assistance. The instructions for the exchange of information in the  field of mutual assistance in criminal matters (552i of the Code of Criminal Procedure)  (2008A024) of the Public Prosecution Service describes the division of powers between the  police and the Public Prosecution Service for dealing with incoming international requests for  assistance, which also includes police cooperation. 

  • The instructions for international joint investigation teams (2008A007) of the Public  Prosecution Service. 

  • The headquarters Agreement between Netherlands and the International Organization  for Migration (IOM) signed in 1991; IOM’s office in the Hague, in cooperation with the  Government of the Netherlands, provides assistance with voluntary return and reintegration  through the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programme. 

  • Europol/Eurojust both have representation in the Netherlands. Since the early 2000s, Eurojust and Europol have worked together closely in the fight against serious cross-border crime, in  particular by exchanging information with each other, providing complementary support to  national authorities during transnational criminal investigations, and addressing the root causes  and challenges of serious cross-border crime. 

  • UNODC: In 2015, the Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual  Violence against Children and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime produced a joint  report on a multiple systems estimation of the number of presumed human trafficking victims in  the Netherlands.

Transnational Referral Mechanism

  • The RAVOT-EUR project: “Referral of and assistance for victims of human trafficking in  Europe” – This pioneer project was implemented by Belgium, the Netherlands, and Hungary in  close cooperation. It was later expanded with information about Switzerland, “Swiss-Hungarian  Transnational Cooperation on the Referral of Victims of Trafficking.”  

  • Benelux brochure: A brochure was developed through a collaborative effort of the Benelux  partners that outlines the referral mechanisms of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. It  includes the contact details of organizations with a key role in addressing human trafficking and in  supporting victims.

  • To learn more about TRMs, see IOM’s Transnational Referral Mechanism Model (TACT) project and  tool*

*IOM, TACT Transnational Referral Mechanism, financed by le fonds Asile, Migration et integration (FAMI) 

Additional Resources

At the international level, operational cooperation takes place in a large number of the investigations  into trafficking in human beings and involves many different countries. An emphasis is placed on  cooperation with the most important source countries of victims of trafficking in human beings, such  as Nigeria, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. Cooperation also takes place with other countries in  Africa, Asia, and North and South America. 

  • The conduct of investigations involving trafficking in human beings and the establishment  of joint investigation teams (JIT) within the EU is coordinated through the EU European  Multidisciplinary Platform Against Crime Threats (EMPACT) project on trafficking in  human beings, in which the UK is the driver and the Netherlands is the co-driver (the police  commissioner on EU matters together with the national prosecutor on human trafficking of the  Public Prosecution Service). The EMPACT projects were set up to implement the eight priorities  in the field of serious and organized crime, which the Ministers of Justice and of the Interior  established in June 2011. Fourteen member states take part in the human trafficking project, as  well as Frontex, Europol, Eurojust, Cepol, and INTERPOL. 

  • The Netherlands supports programmes aimed at improving the capacity of key  African countries of origin and transit to detect, prosecute, and convict criminal networks  involved in trafficking and smuggling of human beings. For example, they will strengthen their  efforts to build the capacity of local governments and the legal sector in West Africa and the  Sahel to tackle human smuggling and trafficking. A great deal of attention is also paid to witness  protection, the promotion of human rights of migrants, and psychosocial and other forms of  support for victims. Finally, they promote cross-border judicial cooperation and information  exchange both within the region and, as much as possible, between Africa, and West Africa in  particular, and the European Union. 

  • Following the successful Dutch initiative in the UN Security Council for sanctions against  human traffickers in Libya, the Netherlands is continuing to press for sanctions in the UN and  EU context against leaders of human trafficking and human smuggling networks in important  countries of origin and transit. 

  • The Netherlands contributes 4.7 million euros to a regional programme of the  United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Office of the United Nations  High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in West Africa and the Sahel. This  programme supports African countries of origin and transit in, among other things, developing  a legal framework for human smuggling and trafficking and in the detection and prosecution  of perpetrators. In addition, it supports awareness-raising campaigns in countries of origin to  protect potential migrants from the dangerous journey to Libya and Europe and the risk of  becoming victims of human trafficking.

Relevant National Legislation and Policies

Entry requirements 

  • All 15 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member states and  Chad, Libya, and Mauritania: require a visa valid and adequate to the purpose of visit, and  valid travel document for more than at least three months of the duration of required stay.  (National ID and ECOWAS Laisser-passer not accepted). 

  • Visa exempted: all European Union (EU) and Swiss nationals. 

  • For other countries: Visa requirements for other nationals can be found here: NL consular  services. Or see the list of other nationalities exempted (in Dutch only). Starting in 2021, non-EU nationals who do not require a visa to enter the Schengen area will need to request prior  authorization to visit Schengen countries. This authorization is not the same as a visa. You can  apply for authorization online via the European Travel Information and Authorization System  (ETIAS). More information is available on the website of the European Commission.

National legislation 

Dutch laws that address the issue of human trafficking  include the Penal Code, the Alien’s Statute, and the Child and  Adolescent Statute. The Netherlands also abides by the relevant  EU and Council of Europe directives on combatting human  trafficking (2011/36/EU, 2004/81/EC, 2004/80/EC, 2001/220/ JHA) and is a party to the United Nations Convention Against  Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols. The Criminal  Code includes an extensive list of trafficking-related crimes, and  in 2013 the punishments for these offenses were increased,  with penalties ranging not exceeding 12 years in prison for  an individual perpetrator if no bodily harm is inflicted and the  victim is not a minor, to life imprisonment or up to 30 years’  imprisonment if a death occurs.


  • The Constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands provides the general right of  inviolability of the person. [Constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands of August 24, 1815]  (as amended effective July 15, 2008), Article 11.  

  • Criminal Code: The major law on trafficking in the Netherlands is the Criminal Code. Article  273f prohibits all forms of human trafficking, including trafficking in organs, trafficking to exploit  minors, trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation, trafficking for the performance of work  or services, and trafficking for intentional profit from exploitation of other persons. In 2013,  the punishments for human trafficking were made more stringent; a single offense of trafficking  involving any of the abovementioned types of acts will now incur upon conviction a maximum  sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment or a fine of the fifth category.  

  • The Criminal Code defines exploitation to include, at a minimum, “exploitation of another  person in prostitution, other forms of sexual exploitation, forced or compulsory labour or  services,” forced begging, slavery or practices similar to it, servitude, and forced criminality.  

  • Under a new provision adopted in 2013, the Code defines “vulnerable position” (kwetsbare  positie) as including a situation in which a person has no real or acceptable alternative but to submit to the abuse. 

  • Article 251 of the Code, which provides for disqualification from certain rights for offenders,  also applies to trafficking offenses.

  • Code of Criminal Procedure: Certain provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (amended in 1994), in particular those concerning threatened witnesses, may also apply in the  case of human trafficking crimes.  

  • Alien’s Act: The Aliens Act states that illegal foreign nationals who report human trafficking  to the Dutch authorities as either a victim or a witness can stay legally in the Netherlands  temporarily during the investigation and prosecution. This regulation also applies to human  trafficking victims “who are cooperative in the criminal investigation or prosecution other than  by reporting it to the police”. Formerly called the B9 regulation, it is now called the Residency  Regulation Human Trafficking and is found in Chapter B8(3) of the Aliens Act Implementation  Guidelines.

*Full text of The Netherlands laws can be found at 

Legal assistance and victim’s compensation


  • Presumed victims identified by police, Royal Netherlands Marechaussee and Border Police (Kmar),  or Labour Inspectorate of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (ISZW), victims are  granted a three-month reflection period, during which they have right to remain in the  Netherlands and access all services. After the reflection period, residence rights depend on the  victim’s cooperation with the investigation and the duration of the judicial procedure. Initially, the  permit is for one year, but it can be withdrawn if the investigative procedures are ended or the  victim no longer cooperates. It can also be extended as long as the procedures are still ongoing. After three years or after a conviction of the perpetrator, victims can apply for a  permanent residence permit.  

  • Presumed victims identified by police are entitled to legal assistance through the Legal Aid Board for the duration of the investigation/judiciary procedure. Unaccompanied children will be placed  under guardianship of NIDOS which is a national organization, who offers assistance to minors,  as outlined in the provisions by the authorities and within the framework for protection of  juveniles. Under Dutch law, the guardianship must be arranged for minor asylum seekers/aliens  who arrive in the Netherlands without parents.  


  • In line with the compensation scheme in all criminal proceedings, courts can award State  compensation to victims if the perpetrator cannot pay the compensation. 

  • Upon return to the country of origin, victims do not lose their entitlement to compensation  or other remedies. Their lawyer can continue to act on their behalf. In practice, however, such  compensation may be difficult to obtain if they do not stay in touch with their lawyer. 

More information is available at: Ministry of Justice’s leaflet (Rights of victims of criminal offences)

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