Newspaper Trouw covers human trafficking extensively

The number of child victims of sexual exploitation is estimated at one thousand three hundred a year. However, this may be just the tip of the iceberg. Terre des Hommes and four other organisations have fought this type of abuse in the Coalition against Sexual Child exploitation since 2016.

There are sometimes only 24 hours between the first contact between a pimp and the victim and the moment that the girl works in illegal prostitution. It often starts with nude pictures or a sex video, recorded with a smartphone. This is followed by sextortion: the minor is blackmailed by the criminal pimp with the images and forced into having sex.

Online distribution

Sometimes the girls are approached by these hardened criminals when they are only 11 years old. Children fall into the trap more easily because the contact often takes place through social media in the comfort of their own bedrooms. Through the Internet intimacy is created faster than in real life. The criminals mainly target vulnerable girls. Children who are neglected already or were sexually abused earlier in life, even though it can happen to any child.

Tougher penalties

The coalition focusses on earlier tracking of and stronger penalties for men who want to buy sex off a minor, among other things. Through Watch Nederland we do active research into the pimps, both online as well as by actively pursuing suspicious notifications. We destroy trade by placing decoy advertisements offering sex with young adults. 

These online advertisements often generate hundreds of responses. When the following chat contact reveals the 'young person' is not yet eighteen years old, over sixty per cent of respondents still want to have a sex date. People imagine themselves to be anonymous online. By warning these men they are exhibiting criminal behaviour and by showing them they are not invisible, we destabilise the market. We will automate these decoy advertisements in order to warn thousands of customers.

What the Coalition against Sexual Child exploitation does

The Coalition against sexual child exploitation focuses on reducing sexual exploitation of children and victims with mild learning disabilities up to and including the age of 23 in the Netherlands. Terre des Hommes, the Centre against Child trafficking and Human trafficking, Fier and Defence for Children-ECPAT have joined forces. Target: to bring about structural change.

Prevention and protection of child victims are central in this respect, so every child in the Netherlands can grow up safely without the fear of sexual exploitation. The approach also involves prosecution and punishment of offenders and cooperating with for instance the police and the judiciary. The coalition is supported by, among others, the National Postcode Lottery, Adessium Foundation and Stichting Janivo.

 

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