Terre des Hommes to crack down on loverboys and customers in NL

Terre des Hommes is incorporating The Netherlands as a country of focus in its fight against the sexual exploitation of children. The project ‘WATCH Nederland’, beginning on the 5th of September, will concentrate on tackling loverboys and their customers and on the issue of grooming; the sexual abuse of minors over the internet.

Sexual exploitation

Sexual abuse of children in The Netherlands is an increasing problem. Loverboys and prostitution networks are blackmailing and recruiting children for prostitution more easily these days, partly because of increased internet usage. They threaten to publicise photos of a sexual nature and videos of the minors, subsequently prostituting their victims on the internet but they rarely get caught. Similarly, minors using the internet are being approached on chat sites, web forums and social media, by adults seeking sexual contact, also known as grooming.

Operational observation unit

In ‘WATCH Nederland’ Terre des Hommes is working closely with the Centrum tegen Kinderhandel en Mensenhandel (Centre against Child abuse and Human trafficking) who will run a national hotline that victims of sexual exploitation, parents/caregivers, bystanders, care facilities and professionals can contact. The operational observation unit of Terre des Hommes will pursue these leads and pro-actively search for examples of sexual exploitation of minors in both the physical and virtual world. The unit, consisting of forensic ICT experts and professional private investigators, will use special intervention techniques to warn, deter and discourage perpetrators. This will destroy the loverboys’ trade.

The Valkenburg sex crime case

‘WATCH Nederland’ is based on the successful approach to tackling child sex tourists in Asia and the proactive tracing of online child molesters through the digital girl ‘Sweetie’, responsible for multiple arrests and convictions worldwide. In ‘WATCH Nederland’ the emphasis is on prevention through proactive tracing of (potential) culprits. ‘The Dutch Police and the Public Prosecution Service are currently lacking the manpower and tools to check on every single suspicious case. A striking example is the Valkenburg sex crime case, where it took a private investigator to step in and rescue a girl from the hands of her loverboy.’ says Hans Guijt of Terre des Hommes. 

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