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.
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)
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
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.
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.
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)
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
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.
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.
AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL:*
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.
Legal assistance and victim’s compensation
REGARDING LEGAL ASSISTANCE
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.
REGARDING VICTIM’S COMPENSATION
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)