National Rapporteur delivers a speech at the Chairpersons' meeting on human trafficking in the digital age

In the context of the Dutch EU Presidency parliamentarians from various European states came to The Hague to discuss modern forms of human trafficking and the opportunities offered by the internet to combat human trafficking. The central question was how to deal with human trafficking in the digital age. Technology offers opportunities for human traffickers but also offers the opportunity to take a stand against human trafficking, both nationally and internationally.

In her speech the Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence against Children stressed that rapid technological changes require that policy makers use new tools when tackling human trafficking. “Human traffickers use technology as an instrument for keeping victims under control. Advertisements for paid sex are being placed online and trafficking victims are the ones on offer. Appointments are made through social media and transactions are even being paid for in some cases with bitcoins.” Also, Skype, Whatsapp and Snapchat were mentioned by the National Rapporteur as media used by traffickers.

Other key note speakers were the Dutch Minister of Security and Justice Ard van der Steur and Henriette Akofa Siliadin, one of many victims of human trafficking. In her impressive speech, Siliadin spoke about how she has been exploited for years, yet kept hoping for a positive outcome: "If I stop smiling, then my life will really be destroyed".