In order to track down and prosecute offenders successfully, it is paramount that victims report human trafficking offences. Human trafficking offences may be investigated and prosecuted ex officio and as such do not require the submission of a civilian complaint, meaning that a report of the crime to the police is not necessarily required. The victim’s story, however, is frequently necessary to obtain sufficient grounds for prosecution, and actually to investigate and convict the offender.
Victims of human trafficking who wish to file an official police report may turn to the Aliens Police, Identification and Human Trafficking department (AVIM) of the police, which is staffed by certified detectives.
The Inspectorate SZW handles reports from victims of labour exploitation. Any anonymous reports of labour exploitation can be directed to the Criminal Intelligence Unit (TCI) of the Inspectorate.
Anonymous reports of human trafficking offences can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers Netherlands ( Meld Misdaad Anoniem).
Reporting human trafficking offences can be a very distressing experience to victims, as they are forced to recount their experiences. To this end, victims are given various types of protection. The Instructions for Human Trafficking stipulate that there should be adequate protection of the victim’s privacy, safety and security, and health. These instructions mean that if it is in the victim’s interest:
- police interviews should take place without unnecessary delays;
- the number of interviews should be limited;
- the police must avoid any interviews from being repeated.
In addition, the following provisions apply to underage victims:
- If possible, the underage victim should be interviewed by the same people;
- If possible, the interview should take place in a space that has been adapted to or specifically designed for that purpose.
- During the interview, victims may have themselves accompanied by a representative or an adult of their choice (subject to exceptions).
- If possible, video recordings are made of the interviews with the underage victim or underage witness, which can be used as evidence in the criminal proceedings.
Civilian reports of human trafficking are subject to the Instructions for audio and audio-visual recording of interviews of victims, reporting witnesses and suspects. An audio recording must always be made of each interview. Video recordings must be made of interviews of vulnerable victims (underage victims under 16 years of age and persons with an intellectual disability or cognitive functional disorder). If the underage victim is under 12 years of age, the interview must take place in a child-friendly studio.