Government accedes to SP demands: more emphasis on catching people-smugglers

31 October 2013

Government accedes to SP demands: more emphasis on catching people-smugglers

More attention will be paid to spotting young victims of people-smuggling following SP pressure on the government. SP Member of Parliament Nine Kooiman has expressed her delight that Security and Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten and Secretary of State Fred Teeven have committed themselves to this.

Nine Kooiman‘People-smuggling remains an enormous problem, especially when it involves minors,’ says Kooiman. ‘We are seeing too often as things stand exploitation situations persist for an unnecessarily long period because they are not spotted. The sooner professionals see that there’s a problem, the sooner we can rescue victims from their exploiters. The abuse must stop, and the sooner the better.’

At Kooiman’s request, Opstelten has promised Parliament that more attention would be paid to intelligence and to the recognition of victims of exploitation in training teachers of children and of adults. 'Teachers and trainers are those who by some distance have most to do with minors and who can win their confidence, so this is of huge importance,’ says Kooiman. Teeven promised Kooiman that youth workers would in future be obliged to report incidences of suspected people-smuggling.

‘There’s insufficient visibility when it comes to minors who are victims of people-smuggling,’ says Kooiman. ‘When victims are recognised, it’s not always reported to the authorities. In my view we should also ensure that this group too is better trained in this and that from now they will report their suspicions to CoMenscha, the Coordination Centre on People-smuggling. Tackling this major problem begins with recognising it. We must ensure more visibility. In that way we’ll prevent the creation of more victims.’

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