Annual figures Human trafficking 2022

The National Rapporteur on Human Trafficking is concerned about the number of victims of human trafficking in The Netherlands. The annual report published today, shows that only 814 victims were reported to the Coordination Center against Human Trafficking (Comensha) in 2022. It is estimated that there are approximately 5.000 victims of human trafficking in The Netherlands per year. The increase in the number of Ukrainian victims and the decline in the number of suspects and prosecutions of suspects is striking: "It is important to pay more attention to signals of human trafficking among refugees and to focus on tackling perpetrators within the criminal justice chain," said National Rapporteur Conny Rijken.

Ukrainian victims of human trafficking: mainly labor exploitation

About 91.000 refugees from Ukraine are currently living in the Netherlands. In 2022, there is an increase in the number of reported Ukrainian victims of human trafficking. Last year there were 51 compared to 7 in 2021. These are victims of labor exploitation. 'The increase makes it clear that it is necessary to continue to focus on preventing human trafficking among refugees, including Ukrainian refugees. People on the run, but also after arrival in our country, are in a vulnerable situation that can be abused," says Rijken. She advocates continued attention to signs of human trafficking among refugees of all nationalities.

Criminal justice approach to perpetrators of human trafficking has deteriorated

In 2022, the police identified 254 (potential) perpetrators of human trafficking. This mainly concerned perpetrators of sexual exploitation. In 165 cases, the police started an investigation based on repost. The number of suspects brought to the attention of the police is declining, as is the number of cases registered with the Public Prosecution Service. The number of cases that are dismissed has decreased compared to 2021, but is still significant (45%). The number of cases in which the judge has ruled has also decreased slightly and the number of cases that led to the acquittal of the suspect has increased.

Human trafficking as a priority

Human trafficking cases are often complex and require a significant investment of manpower and resources to successfully prosecute and adjudicate a case. “Continued prioritization and investment in the criminal justice approach in order to successfully prosecute perpetrators is necessary,” says rapporteur Rijken. The National Rapporteur previously expressed concerns about the criminal law approach to human trafficking. In addition, increasing the effectiveness of the criminal justice approach when it comes to human trafficking cases is one of the priorities for the National Rapporteur in the coming years.