Judiciciary system in the Netherlands

Published Publication date 29.07.2013

On 19th June 2013 The National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence against Children of the Netherlands published an English version of her study on recent case law in the country relating to human trafficking cases. Over 400 judgments on human trafficking in sex industry and other forms of exploitation form years 2009-2012 had been studied.

The conclusion of the report of the National Rapporteur is that specialisation and training are needed to ensure that human trafficking cases are handled in a manner befitting the seriousness of the offence and the concern about human trafficking at national and international level. In that respect, it is also important to pursue consistency in sentencing. When determining sentences, there are major disparities. The report shows that there is a lack of uniformity in the application of factors that can influence sentencing, such as aggravating circumstances. There is also considerable discrepancy in awarding compensation for victims.

As with the other subsections, there is diversity in sentencing and in the grounds for sentencing for offences. The report shows some differences in this area. As an example, Assen District Court sentenced a suspect to an unconditional prison sentence of 15 months for recruiting and taking two women from Poland to work in prostitution in the Netherlands between 2000 and 2002, while Groningen District Court did not impose any sentence at all in a case in which a young woman, probably from Hungary, who was working on the street in Germany was taken by the suspect to work as a prostitute in Groningen in February 2010.

It is worth to mention about that on 19th June 2013 U.S. Department of State published ‘The 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report’ – TIP Report. According to this report, The Netherlands is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution and forced labor. A significant number of underage Dutch residents continued to be subjected to sex trafficking in the country. The Netherlands, Hungary, Nigeria, Romania, Bulgaria, Sierra Leone, and Poland are the top seven countries of origin for identified victims of forced prostitution in 2012. Moreover, Poland was pointed as one of the main countries of origin male victims of human trafficking, engaged to prostitution and various forms of forced labour. Men and boys are usually subjected to work in the maritime sector, agriculture, horticulture, catering, food processing, cleaning, construction, and illegal narcotics trafficking.

The government of the Netherlands increasingly focused its law enforcement efforts on sectors vulnerable to forced labor in 2012. In December 2012, a court in Zwolle sentenced two co-directors
of a temporary agency to respective sentences of four and eight years’ imprisonment for forced labor involving Polish workers. The court found the offenders guilty of coercing and exploiting one male and six female workers in a meat-processing facility, in addition to other charges; one suspect was also found guilty of raping three of the victims. The court found that the victims were completely dependent on the suspects for work, housing, and transportation.



  1. Official website of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence against Children http://www.dutchrapporteur.nl/about/news/archief/human-trafficking-in-the-netherlands-specialised-judges-on-human-trafficking-cases.aspx?cp=64&cs=16855;
  2. The 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report’ published by the U.S. Department of State http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2013/