Once a person has been identified as a victim, it is paramount to remove the person from the exploitative situation and provide them with safety and security. Victims may be offered protection in various ways.
Safety and security
Safety is key where victims of human trafficking are concerned. Victims often live in fear of a suspect, or a suspect may be looking for a victim.
After victims of human trafficking have been removed from the situation of exploitation, the first priority is for them to have a period of recovery and reflection. In cases where victims of human trafficking do not have lawful residence status in the Netherlands, it is essential that arrangements are made allowing them to remain temporarily in the Netherlands.
Before victims of human trafficking can be given assistance to get their life back on track, it is vital that they are given a safe place to live. Victims of human trafficking are entitled to sheltered accommodation. There are various types of shelter available to victims of human trafficking.
Medical/mental health support
Being a victim of human trafficking is a very stressful and distressing experience, which will often have traumatic effects. As a result, it is essential for most victims that they have access to mental health support. In addition, human trafficking frequently constitutes a serious violation of an individual’s physical integrity. For that reason, medical assistance is also crucial to most victims.
A variety of legal aspects come into play for victims of human trafficking; for example, including the victim’s testimony in the criminal prosecution of the trafficker, claiming compensation or settling legal aid issues. Legal issues may also arise regarding the victim’s residence status in the Netherlands and concerning immigration or asylum procedures. As such, it is vital that victims of human trafficking have access to legal assistance.
Many victims of human trafficking come from abroad. Victims who do not speak the Dutch language and who require the assistance of an interpreter will be eligible for one.
Repatriation and return
In some cases, victims will be eager to return to their country of origin after having regained their freedom or once criminal proceedings have been completed. Other victims with no legal right to remain in the Netherlands will have to be repatriated after criminal proceedings have been concluded. There are various organisations that offer support for this process.