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2003-08-29 13:14:00
Embassy The Hague
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 THE HAGUE 002196 




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A) State 218687; B) The Hague 1855





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A) State 218687; B) The Hague 1855

1. Summary
Below follows an update of recent developments in the
Netherlands re trafficking in persons (TIP). Contents:

--New Legislation
--Other Parliamentary Activity
--Outreach to National TIP Rapporteur's Office
--Visitors Raise TIP: A/S Jones; Former Congresswoman Smith

2. New Legislation
On June 16, 2003, the Dutch Cabinet gave the first stage
approval to a bill submitted by Justice Minister Donner
expanding the definition of people trafficking to all forms
of modern slavery, in conformity with the EU Framework on
Trafficking and the UN Palermo Protocol. Under the bill, it
is forbidden "in all cases to recruit persons under coercion
or deception, to transport or to house them, for the reason
of exploitation." The bill penalizes all forms of social-
economic exploitation in the different sectors, such as the
hotel, restaurant and agricultural sector, household work
and prostitution. The bill also applies to the removal of
human organs. The requirement of "coercion or deception"
does not apply to minors; exploitation of minors is always
punishable. The maximum penalties for trafficking will be
raised to 12 years in case of serious physical injury and 15
years in case of death.

Immediately after Cabinet approval, the bill was sent for
review to the Council of State, the highest advisory body to
the government, as is the mandatory procedure for new
legislation. The text will not become public until approved
by the Council and submitted to the Dutch Parliament. It is
too early to tell when the Second and First Chambers of
Parliament will debate the bill, but there is no doubt that
legislation will be passed and in place before the August
2004 deadline for ratification of the EU Framework on

3. Other Parliamentary Activity
In reply to recent questions by the Labor (PvdA) and
Calvinist Reformed (SGP) parties about U.S. State Department
concerns about TIP in the Netherlands, Justice Minister
Donner noted that the 2002 U.S. TIP report does not ta
into account recently proposed legislation (described above
in Para 2) which expands the definition of TIP and raises
penalties so that they are comparable to those for multiple
rape, which was a point for U.S. criticism.

Donner felt U.S. concerns were prompted by the rise in the
number of TIP prosecution cases. He emphasized that this
only proves the Dutch government has made TIP a priority
issue. With respect to U.S. criticism on support for
foreign victims, Donner emphasized that many victims are
operating in "hidden or less visible" sectors of
prostitution making it difficult for the government to
assist them. According to Donner, the Dutch police have
invested a great deal in the detection of victims. He
pointed to the B-9 immigration law regulation allowing
victims to remain in the country while pursuing prosecution,
noting that, within Europe, only Italy and Belgium have
comparable procedures.

On September 4, 2003, the Second Chamber's Standing Justice
Committee will discuss the results of the first assessment
of the November 2000 lifting of the ban on brothels, carried
out by the Justice Ministry's Scientific Research and
Documentation Center (WODC) in October last year, as well as
the 2002 TIP reports recently published by the National
Rapporteur. We expect the committee will: 1) recommend
continued monitoring of legalized brothels by the WODC until
2005, and 2) urge the GONL to support the Rapporteur's 2002
recommendations. We expect funding levels to remain the
same for TIP despite overall GONL budget cuts.

4. Outreach to National TIP Rapporteur Office
-------------- -
Embassy's Global Issues officers recently met with senior
staff members of the National TIP Rapporteur's office to
discuss follow-up action on the three P's: prosecution,
prevention and protection. The Rapporteur staff members
first wanted to emphasize that the independent status of
their office enables them to make critical observations and
recommendations about all aspects of the TIP problem and
solutions. They expressed concern that in the past these
honest observations and recommendations have been repeated
negatively in U.S. reports - in a sense, "used against us
and the GONL." This makes it "more difficult for us to
continue our independent work." Embassy officers agreed to
relay the point to appropriate USG Department officials.

With respect to prosecution statistics, the staffers
admitted that data collection is slow because of limited
manpower (three staff members). The Rapporteur's 2003
annual report, which will be published this December, will
have 2002 law enforcement statistics. Realizing the
importance of the most up-to-date information, our
interlocutors are committed to discuss the issue with other
parties involved (police, ministries and NGOs) and try to
find ways to share more current data.

The Rapporteur staffers noted several ongoing prevention
initiatives including the Travel Agent's Association
distribution of warnings about trafficking and sex with
minors and ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Porn and
Child Trafficking) Netherlands public awareness campaigns
aimed at Dutch tourists and travel agencies, which are meant
primarily to combat sexual exploitation of children. ECPAT
and the Dutch branch of Defense for Children International
have just completed a study on child sex tourism, which was
funded by the Dutch government. The Rapporteur's office has
promised to send us a copy and we will forward one to G/TIP.

The Netherlands also plays an active role in the EU "La
Strada" program for the prevention of trafficking in women,
which was expanded in 2002 to include twelve (from six)
Central and Eastern European countries. GONL funding for La
Strada (1.5 million USD over 2001-2004) is channeled through
the Dutch Foundation against Trafficking in Women (STV).

The Justice Ministry's WODC has been asked to initiate a
study into various forms of modern-day slavery in the
Netherlands (other than exploitation in prostitution). The
National Rapporteur is involved in the formulation of the
research project.

On the issue of sex tourism, our interlocutors noted that
the Public Morality Act was amended in 2002 to add a
provision that "citizens and persons having a permanent
residence in the Netherlands, who abuse minor children in
foreign countries, can be tried and convicted in the
Netherlands, even if the offense is not a crime in the
country where it took place." To date, two persons have
been prosecuted under this new provision.

The Rapporteur's staff was puzzled by our questions about
sex tourism in The Gambia (Ref A) as there are reports of
only a few isolated incidents of Dutch traveling to that
country for sex with minors. According to them, there is no
evidence of The Gambia as a significant destination or even
indications of a trend.

In June 2003, the STV and the Dutch Interchurch Organization
for Development Cooperation (ICCO) launched a study of TIP
repatriation programs. The study will gather information
from NGOs in "source" countries, consider best practices and
pitfalls and prepare a plan of action for the Netherlands.
The Rapporteur's office plans to host a meeting, planned for
early February 2004, of 25 repatriation experts from these
countries. Other Dutch NGOs involved in repatriation
programs are IOM-Nederland, Bonded Labor in the Netherlands
(BLIN), and Religions against Trafficking in Women (SRTV).
IOM-Nederland has begun to modify its current database of
repatriated persons to distinguish TIP victims - an IOM head
office initiative which the Dutch are out front on.

The Rapporteur staffers also reminded us that the
Netherlands will chair the Council of Europe in 2004. The
Council, which has made TIP a priority issue, is currently
drafting its own convention on victim assistance and human
rights and the GONL intends to further this effort.

With respect to concerns about sufficiency of shelters for
victimized women (Ref A), STV is optimistic that this
problem will be solved shortly by a new directive by GONL to
give battered women priority for subsidized housing in order
to free more shelter capacity for TIP victims. The STV and
local minority integration networks have also started a
discussion on the need for separate shelters for TIP victims
and victims of household violence.

5. Arrests/Prosecutions
Since February, 2003, the Amsterdam and military police
forces have arrested 46 Dutch and Romanian nationals on
suspicion of participating in a network of trafficking and
forced prostitution. During the investigation, the police
seized false driver's licenses and passports, forged Dutch
residence permits, money and weapons. The network is
suspected of having recruited Romanian women and girls under
the pretense of working as waitresses in Dutch restaurants.
Once in the country, their passports were taken away and
they were told they owed the traffickers large sums of money
on expenses made. This way, they were forced to work as
prostitutes. Most of the victims have meanwhile been
repatriated. Prosecution of suspects is currently being

In July 2003, the Breda district court sentenced the female
manager of a sex club to 18 months in prison, of which six
months suspended. The woman was accused of having smuggled
at least 14 women, including four underage girls, from the
former East Bloc to the Netherlands in 2001 and forced them
to work as prostitutes. The prosecutor suspects a link to
between the sex clubs in Noord Brabant and Zeeland provinces
to the Bulgarian mafia.

6. Visitors Raise TIP
EUR A/S Jones raised the TIP issue in meetings with the
National Rapporteur for Trafficking Korvinus and Justice
Ministry Secretary-General Demmink in The Hague on July 15,
2003 (Ref B). Dutch officials emphasized to Jones that TIP
will be a priority of their European Union and Council of
Europe presidencies in 2004, as it has been with their OSCE
presidency. All agreed it is essential to focus political
and multilateral attention on the problem.

On July 21, 2003, the Embassy arranged a meeting for Shared
Hope International Director Linda Smith and Michele Clark,
Co-Director of the Protection Project of the Foreign Policy
Institute, with the National Rapporteur who pledged support
for an initiative described by Smith to hold a regional
conference in the Netherlands to establish international
networks for repatriated women. The two agreed to remain in
close contact; the Rapporteur's office has not yet received
further details of Smith's conference proposal (not to be
confused with the STV and ICCO project launch meeting
described above in para 4, Protection).

7. Comment
The activities described above by the GONL, the Rapporteur
and NGOs demonstrate that the GONL takes TIP seriously and
commits significant time, funding and resources to
eradicating this type of crime and assisting victims. There
is healthy cooperation between public and private
organizations to combat the problem, and increasing
inclusion of neighboring and source countries in planning.
When passed, the new TIP legislation in Parliament should
meet USG concerns set out in Ref A. The GONL is seizing
opportunities to spotlight TIP and make it an international
priority as it leads multilateral institutions (OSCE
presidency, Council of Europe and EU presidency). We are
particularly intrigued with the STV/ICCO repatriation study
and conference proposed for February 2004 (para 4 above) and
hope to find an opportunity for meaningful bilateral
cooperation there. Embassy The Hague welcomes the visit of
G/TIP Senior Advisor John Miller to the Netherlands in late
September and plans to use that visit to conduct more
outreach and advocacy to police, ministries and NGOs
involved in TIP issues and to engage the Rapporteur further.