The relative invisibility of young victims of sexual exploitation has been a cause for concern in the Netherlands for quite some time now. A quick scan by the Centre against Child Trafficking and Human Trafficking (CKM) confirms that Dutch victims are sometimes (also) exploited in neighbouring Belgium and Germany. Persons who fall victim to exploitation outside the country's borders are possibly even more invisible, as they may have even more trouble finding their way to care workers and the police in a country they are less familiar in. Additionally, for investigators and care organizations, country borders may constitute a barrier, while for traffickers they are something they can hide behind. This has led CKM to conduct research on cross-border sexual exploitation of Dutch victims in Belgium and Germany.
This is de first study on cross-border sexual exploitation of Dutch victims in neighbouring countries
Purpose of the study
That is why we are conducting research on minors and young adults from the Netherlands who are a victim of sexual exploitation in Belgium and/or Germany. Through this study, we attempt to paint a picture of the nature and scale of the problem. We aim to find out where in Belgium and Germany and how often the exploitation in takes place, and who the victims are. We aim to learn more about the perpetrators, where they are from and to what extent they cooperate cross-border. Additionally, we aim to learn more about the extent to which anti-trafficking and other actors in the three countries are in contact and cooperate to support victims and find perpetrators. In our report, we will provide recommendations on next steps to tackle this problem.
We will analyze available data, literature and case law in a desk study. In addition, we will distribute a questionnaire among persons and organizations in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany who have a heightened chance of coming into contact with Dutch minors and young adults who are a victim of sexual exploitation in Belgium and/or Germany. We will conduct interviews with persons with lived experience, as well as other relevant stakeholders who have encountered cross-border sexual exploitation of Dutch victims and/or have knowledge about it.
CKM is carrying out this research as a partner of the Coalition against Child Sexual Exploitation. This is a coalition between Defence for Children - ECPAT, Fier and CKM.
Results: The report will be published at the end of 2023.