Once the criminal investigation has yielded sufficient evidence, the Public Prosecution Service will begin prosecuting the offenders. The court case may be a very distressing experience for the victim. As such, the victim must be supported and protected adequately during criminal proceedings.
The Instructions for Human Trafficking stipulate that:
- victims of human trafficking may not be prosecuted or penalised for criminal activities which they committed under duress as a victim of human trafficking;
- victims are entitled to request from the court that it sentence the accused to pay damages;
- victims of human trafficking are entitled to legal assistance from a lawyer free of charge;
- victims that have an insufficient command of the Dutch language are entitled to an interpreter during court proceedings. Victims may request an interpreter from the Public Prosecution Office;
- during criminal proceedings, victims of human trafficking have the right to be heard or to submit a written victim statement;
- visual contact between the victim and the accused should be avoided, unless this procedure is in the interest of the victim;
- calling the victim as a witness in an open court – with unnecessary questions being put to them about their personal life – should be avoided, unless this procedure is in the interest of the victim.