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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04THEHAGUE174
2004-01-26 14:05:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy The Hague
Cable title:  

RECENT TIP DEVELOPMENTS IN THE NETHERLANDS

Tags:   KCRM  PHUM  KWMN  ELAB  SMIG  NL 
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 THE HAGUE 000174 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR G/TIP, G, INL, DRL, PRM, IWI, EUR/PGI, EUR/UBI
STATE PASS TO AID

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM PHUM KWMN ELAB SMIG NL
SUBJECT: RECENT TIP DEVELOPMENTS IN THE NETHERLANDS

REF: 03 THE HAGUE 2205

Summary
-------



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

Legislation:
--New TIP Bill Submitted to Lower House (Paras 2-4)
Protection:
--Parliament Discusses National TIP Report (5-10)
--Dutch Government Sets Up Shelter in Angola (11-14)
--Extra Funds for Domestic Shelters (15)
Prevention:
--Prime Minister Visits La Strada Poland (16)
Prosecution:
--Child Sex Tourist Arrested (17)
--Police Arrest Organizers of Sex Trips (18)
--Traffickers Arrested (19-20)
Illegal Labor:
--More Control of Illegal Labor (21)
--Fines for Families Exploiting Au Pairs (22)
Prostitution:
--Closure of Street-Walking Zones (23)
--Local Authorities Fine Solicitation (24)
--Bad Times for Sex Clubs (25)
--Sting Operation in South (26)
Other Issues:
--Conclusion of Dutch OSCE Presidency/EU Agenda (27)
--Comment (28).



--------------------------


Legislation


--------------------------



New TIP Bill Submitted to Lower House


--------------------------




2. (U) On November 12, 2003, Justice Minister Donner
submitted to the Lower House (Second Chamber) of Parliament
the "bill on smuggling of and trafficking of persons." The
bill implements the following international regulations:
-- The U.N. Facultative Protocol concerning the sale of
children, prostitution and child porn under the Child Rights
Convention;
-- The U.N. Treaty against Transnational Organized Crime;
-- The U.N. Trafficking in Persons Protocol;
-- The U.N. Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants;
-- The EU Framework Convention on Fighting Trafficking in
Persons;
-- The EU Guideline on assistance upon illegal entry,
illegal transfer, and illegal residence; and
-- The EU Framework Decision to combat sexual exploitation
of children and child porn.



3. (U) The bill is in the final stages of the customary
legislative process and its passage is not disputed. It is,
however, not predictable when the process will be complete
and the bill will go into effect. Minister Donner said he
expects to have the new legislation in place by June 1,


2004. The deadline for ratification of the EU Framework
Convention is August 2004.



4. (U) The bill expands the definition of people
trafficking to all forms of modern slavery and the removal
of human organs. It defines exploitation as "exploitation
of another in prostitution, other forms of sexual
exploitation, forced or compulsory labor or services,
slavery and practices that can be compared to slavery or
bondage." In an explanatory memo, Donner noted that

"exploitation may also be an extremely long work week at
disproportionately low pay under bad conditions." In this
respect, he said the Justice Ministry's Scientific Research
and Documentation Center (WODC) had been asked to initiate a
study into the various forms of modern-day slavery in the
Netherlands. Exploitation of minors, defined as people
under 18, is always punishable, even if there is no
coercion. The bill raises the maximum penalty for all types
of trafficking to 12 years and 15 years in case of death,
which are commensurate with penalties for other grave crimes
(i.e., rape).



--------------------------


Protection


--------------------------



Parliament Discusses National TIP Report


--------------------------




5. (U) On November 25, the Second Chamber discussed the
first two annual reports by the National Rapporteur on
Trafficking in Persons. The parliament spotlighted
protection of foreign TIP victims and in particular the
Rapporteur's criticism that most victims do not make use of
the B-9 status under the Dutch immigration law, which allows
a three month residency to consider pressing charges and a
longer residency during the judicial process. According to
the Rapporteur, only five percent of the estimated 3,500 TIP
victims per year make use of that regulation.



6. (U) Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk agreed with the
Chamber that the B-9 regulation could be better utilized.
She wondered whether its disuse was due to unfamiliarity
with the scheme or fear or uncertainty among the victims.
Minister Verdonk considered the matter so important she
requested WODC, the Justice Ministry's research center, to
study the bottlenecks and report this spring. Verdonk also
agreed to improve the information flow about B-9 procedures
to all police and immigration officers via newsletters.
Reacting to criticism that the alien police too quickly
deport illegal women who may be TIP victims without pointing
them to the B-9 regulation, Verdonk said the problem had
been raised with police and immigration authorities.



7. (U) Victims also have the possibility to request a
permanent residence permit on humanitarian grounds.
However, over the past three years, only 28 such requests
were made. One recognized problem is the requirement that
victims themselves prove the risks associated with
repatriation (although publicly provided legal aid is
available). Minister Verdonk has now agreed the government
will work with the victim to collect evidence to support the
claim.



8. (SBU) The discussion took a political turn in the
disagreement between the majority coalition parties of
Christian Democrats (CDA), Liberals (VVD) and Social-
Liberals (D66) and the opposition Socialist Party (SP)
supported by Labor (PvdA) over the opposition's resolution
asking the government to give TIP victims automatic,
permanent residence, provided they cooperate in criminal
investigations against their perpetrators. The government
coalition and Minister Verdonk opposed this fearing it would
attract illegal aliens to the Netherlands. Verdonk promised
the Chamber a more critical assessment this spring of the
risks of repercussions to victims in their countries of
origin. (COMMENT: USG public intervention in this aspect of
the debate must be carefully considered and balanced to
avoid undesired political fallout that could harm U.S.
interests. END COMMENT.)



9. (U) Verdonk told the Chamber that she has agreed with
the Social Affairs Minister that TIP victims, who are in B-9
status, will be allowed "to participate in the regular labor
process (except for prostitution activities)." This change,
long sought by TIP victim protection advocates, will not
take place, however, until the B-9 regulations have been
rewritten, a process that will take an undetermined period
of time. Once implemented, this will bring the Netherlands
in line with a draft EU guideline on improving the legal
position of TIP victims.



10. (U) The Second Chamber also adopted a resolution asking
the government to promote information campaigns about
prostitution at high schools, in particular focusing on the
risks of "lover boys." The resolution asked the government
to start a national awareness-raising campaign among
prostitutes, which should include a central (stepping-out)
phone line for prostitutes having questions about
assistance, etc. Justice Minister Donner promised the
Chamber an inventory of such campaigns and of witness
protection programs in the first half of 2004. The
inventory will also include an assessment of possible
problems with legalized prostitution and an action plan to
counter these. The action plan will include proposals to
intensify TIP investigations and prosecutions. Donner noted
that it was too early to judge the effects of the lifting of
the ban on brothels and he saw no reason yet to withdraw the
law. According to Donner, various ministries, including
Welfare and Education, constantly monitor the effects of the
law.

Dutch Government Sets Up Shelter in Angola


--------------------------




11. (U) In September 2003, Minister Verdonk opened a
shelter for single underage asylum seekers ("Ama's") near
Luanda, Angola. The shelter is meant for Angolan youth who
have been denied refugee status in the Netherlands and are
repatriated. The shelter, paid with Dutch aid funds, is a
joint project of the Foreign Affairs and Justice Ministries,
and was built by the IOM.



12. (U) Out of a total of more than 9,000 Ama's in the
Netherlands from various countries, some 75 percent are not
eligible for permanent residence and should be deported.
The problem is the Rights of the Child treaty forbids
deportation of underage refugees if there is no evidence of
assistance in their native countries. They must then remain
in the Netherlands until they're adults. Verdonk has set up
special refugee centers in the Netherlands, where Ama's are
prepared for the return to their native countries.



13. (U) The Scarlet Cord organization for Amsterdam
prostitutes has set up a special project to prevent Ama's
from going into prostitution. According to the
organization, the project will make them aware of "lover
boys" and people smugglers, who lure them into prostitution.
There are anecdotal reports some Ama's have indeed become
prostitutes.



14. (U) As a result of stricter immigration rules, the
number of Ama's who requested asylum in the Netherlands
dropped from 6,705 in 2000 to about 1,100 in 2003. The
number of Angolan Ama's dropped from 854 in 2002 to 137 in


2003.

Extra Money for Domestic Shelters


--------------------------




15. (U) In 2004, the Dutch government will increase the
previously budgeted amount for women's shelters by 1.2
million euros. It will continue to add money to the
regularly budgeted amount, achieving a 4 million increase by


2007. The extra funds are required to increase capacity of
these shelters for, mostly, battered women and trafficking
victims. (In the Netherlands, there are no separate
shelters for TIP victims.)



--------------------------


Prevention


--------------------------



Prime Minister Visits La Strada Poland


--------------------------




16. (U) Prime Minister Balkenende visited the La Strada
organization in Warsaw, Poland, on October 28, 2003. The
international La Strada network is aimed at preventing
trafficking in women in source countries through awareness
and lobby campaigns, prevention activities and concrete
direct assistance to victims. Media reports quoted
Balkenende as saying he admired La Strada's activities and
would continue to support them. (See reftel - GONL funding
is 1.5 million USD over four years.)



--------------------------


Prosecution


--------------------------



Child Sex Tourist Arrested


--------------------------




17. (U) For the first time since 1997 (when there was a
conviction for abuse in the Philippines), the Dutch police
arrested (in October 2003) a Dutchman for sexual abuse of
minors in a foreign country. The man alleged committed rape
in Gambia between 1996 and 2002. A combination of NGO
information, investigative journalism and police work led to
this arrest. A change to the previous law in October 2002
made it possible to prosecute Dutch nationals in the
Netherlands for sexual abuse with minors committed in
another country, even if the offense was not a crime in the
original country. Moreover, now the victim no longer has to
report the offense to the police. Prosecutors are still
investigating this case.

Police Arrest Organizers of Sex Trips


--------------------------




18. (U) On November 29, 2003, 200 police officers searched
18 premises throughout the country in a major investigation
and disruption of a child pornography network. Seven
arrested suspects are accused of producing and distributing
child pornography and organizing sex trips to other
countries, including Tunisia, Romania and the Czech
Republic. Evidence suggests the group worked with American
counterparts. The investigation continues.
Traffickers Arrested


--------------------------




19. (U) Since January 2003, the Supra-Regional Police Team
"Haaglanden-Hollands Midden," which is specialized in
fighting organizations engaged in trafficking in persons,
has been investigating a major case against a group of
Bulgarians and a Dutchman suspected of having trafficked at
least 10 Bulgarian women to the Netherlands, mostly under
false pretense, to work in the Dutch prostitution business.
Six suspects were arrested in The Hague, and one in
Bulgaria.



20. (U) In a separate case, in November 2003, the Alkmaar
court imposed a three-year prison sentence on the two main
Bulgarian suspects of a people trafficking network. The
group of five men and one woman, were found guilty of
forcing Bulgarian women into prostitution in the
Netherlands. The public prosecutor had demanded a four-year
sentence against the two main suspects. The others (two
Bulgarians, a Turk and a Dutchman) received from 8 months to
265 days.



--------------------------


Illegal Labor


--------------------------



More Control on Illegal Labor


--------------------------




21. (U) The Social Affairs Ministry will raise the number
of labor inspectors in 2004 by 80 to 180 in an effort to
fight illegal labor. In addition, in September 2003, the
Cabinet approved a proposal by the Social Minister, which
will enable labor inspectors to penalize employers hiring
illegal workers directly. Currently, violations of the
Labor Law are punishable only through criminal law
procedures. The maximum fine will be 45,000 euros. The
proposal still requires parliamentary approval.

Fines for Families Exploiting Au Pairs


--------------------------




22. (U) Minister Verdonk announced recently that families
who make their au pairs work longer than 30 hours a week can
now expect a substantial fine and a five-year ban on
employing au pairs. Research shows many host families do
not keep to the regulations with girls often performing
heavy duties, which is not permitted.



--------------------------


Prostitution


--------------------------



Closure of Street-Walking Zones


--------------------------




23. (U) Amsterdam has closed, as of December 2003, its
specially designated street walking zones for prostitutes
(distinct from prostitutes working from brothels and windows
- the "red light" districts). The Hague has limited the
hours of its street-walking zone as of October 2003 and will
close it down completely in 2005. Rotterdam has proposed
closing its zone in 2005 as well. According to the cities'
mayors, the zones, originally intended as places where drug-
addicted prostitutes only could work (and get some
assistance), have become too busy with other women, mostly
from Eastern Europe, who often are illegal and/or TIP
victims. Amsterdam Mayor Cohen said he no longer wants to
"lend a helping hand" to criminals. Cohen spoke of a
"devil's dilemma" between assistance and the fight against
crime. On the one hand, he finds the zone a safe place for
prostitutes who receive low-threshold care. On the other
hand, many women are TIP victims and/or illegal. Some
welfare organizations fear that the measure will drive these
women underground, where control is much more difficult.

Local Authorities Fine Solicitation


--------------------------




24. (U) Local authorities are now permitted to designate
incitement to prostitution as an offense in their local
regulations. A fine imposed by the municipality of Heerlen
on a man who was looking for sex for sale is justified,
according to the Den Bosch court of appeal. A district
court had sentenced the man to a fine of 110 euros early
last year for causing a public nuisance by driving slowly
through the Heerlen streets asking streetwalkers for their
prices. Considering the fine a violation of the
constitution, human rights and his privacy, the man
appealed. The appeals court, however, rejected his
arguments in November 2003. Heerlen has no plans to take
action against streetwalkers themselves provided they stay
in designated areas.
Bad Times for Sex Clubs


--------------------------




25. (U) The VER prostitution branch organization reported
in October 2003 that the legalization of prostitution has
led to a decrease in brothels. As a result of staff
shortages and stricter licensing, the number of sex clubs in
the Netherlands dropped over the past three years from about
1,200 to less than 800. According to the VER, Dutch women
often prefer to work independently, offering escort services
from their homes or a hotel, in order to avoid being taxed
when working for legal brothels. The VER reports that some
60% of women employed in brothels come from abroad, mostly
from outside the EU.

Sting Operation in South


--------------------------




26. (U) Over the past few weeks, regional police in the
Eindhoven area (Brabant South-East) have targeted escort
services in a sting operation to prevent their use as covers
for illegal prostitution. On 12 occasions, investigators
called for escorts to come to hotel rooms. Upon arrival,
the women were questioned about trafficking. Meanwhile,
police also questioned their drivers about TIP activity.
Foreign women were taken to the police station where they
were questioned by a special TIP team. Six escorts were
working without permits and four of them (from Eastern
Europe and South America) were deported as illegal aliens;
one was an asylum seeker; and the last had a B-9 temporary
residency permit (for her help with a police investigation
involving TIP). The bosses of the escorts are being
prosecuted and one of the escort agencies has had its
license withdrawn (for repeated violations). According to
the team leader, no TIP victims were discovered. In
addition to mounting such sting operations, The Den Bosch
public prosecutor's "prostitution control teams" want to
bombard the agencies' phone lines with fax messages to
prevent them from conducting business. The sting has been
criticized by some politicians as "provocation" (similar to
entrapment in the U.S.) and they have called upon the
Justice Minister to investigate.



--------------------------


Other Issues


--------------------------



Conclusion of Dutch OSCE Presidency/EU Agenda


--------------------------




27. (U) At the December 2003 OSCE Ministerial concluding
the Dutch presidency, the Council endorsed a 25-page Action
Plan on trafficking and established a mechanism to provide
assistance to OSCE States to combat TIP. The mechanism
consists of two parts: a Special Representative appointed by
the Chairmanship-in-Office and a special unit in the OSCE
Secretariat. The Dutch presidency also furthered a number

SIPDIS
of OSCE projects on trafficking in South Eastern Europe.
The Dutch have indicated they intend to follow up on these
efforts and make TIP a priority during their 2004 EU
presidency (July-December).

Comment


--------------------------




28. (SBU) The Dutch have a solid foundation in and
commitment to anti-TIP efforts. They are moving ahead with
improvements on most items from our anti-TIP agenda, and the
last six months reflect significant progress. Notable
positive highlights include: the steady progress of new
legislation expanding TIP definitions and penalties,
Minister Verdonk's public promises for practical evaluation
of victim protections and changes allowing B-9 victims to
work, parliamentary calls for public awareness campaigns,
GONL arrests and prosecutions, and clear inroads into
cracking down on illegal and crime-infested forms of
prostitution (e.g., streetwalking). Movement on legislative
changes is not as swift as we would like but the Dutch
consensus model does not permit a fast track for favored
matters despite our efforts to stress the importance of
implementing the changes quickly. Having openly discussed
and decided on appropriate time frames and rejected changes
with little practical value, they are satisfied their anti-
TIP efforts are serious, sustained and well-directed. Post
will continue to work with the Dutch on fighting TIP and
will steadily, firmly and gently push them to make necessary
improvements.
Sobel