Reliable estimate reflects true numbers of victims of human trafficking

Reliable estimate reflects true numbers of victims of human trafficking

Today the Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence Against Children and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) present a research report that reflects the first reliable estimate of the extent of trafficking in human beings in the Netherlands. The United Nations now want to apply this method in other countries as well. In the Netherlands, the estimated annual number of victims of human trafficking lies around 6,250. This is about five times higher than the number of registered victims, meaning that many victims stay out of sight of authorities and support agencies.

So far, only data of registered trafficking victims could be used to define the problem. Since trafficking in human beings is a largely hidden crime, the actual figures of trafficking in human beings are expected to be much higher. The estimated number of victims amounts to about 6,250 victims per year which is approximately five times as high as the number of registered cases. In the Netherlands this is the equivalent of approximately 37 victims per 100,000 inhabitants. Two groups of people are most at risk. From Dutch girls between the ages of 12 and 17, 257 out of 100,000 become victims. From persons of non-Dutch origin 311 out of 100,000 become victims of human trafficking.

Sustainable Development Goals

With the development of this estimation method, The Netherlands and the UNODC have contributed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. These goals aim to put an end to poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030. The development of the measuring instrument specifically pertains to indicator 16.2.2, which includes mapping the number of victims of human trafficking per 100,000 members of a population, by sex, age and form of exploitation.

Accurate method of estimation

The ability to reliably estimate the actual numbers contributes greatly to the fight against human trafficking. This was also emphasized in the High-Level Meeting on human trafficking with UN-members on 27 September 2017. The Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence Against Children has been analyzing the numbers of registered victims for years. Thanks to the relatively efficient registration in the Netherlands, it has been possible to reliably estimate the actual number of victims. Dr. Maarten Cruyff and Prof. Dr. Peter van der Heijden, experts in producing estimates, have further developed an existing method of estimation. Specialists in human trafficking, Prof. Dr Jan van Dijk, the Dutch National Rapporteur and UNODC together applied this method for estimating trafficking in the Netherlands. As a result, the Netherlands gained insight into the actual extent of trafficking in human beings. The implications of these new numbers will be addressed in the Monitor Human Trafficking that will be published on 18 October 2017.