Dutch Group Targeting Sex Traffickers

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by Anita Carey  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  May 29, 2018   

Watch Nederlands helping to save underage victims

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A group in the Netherlands is going on the offensive to stop sex trafficking.

Watch Nederlands estimates there are around 1400 children victimized every year by mostly migrant perpetrators — with worldwide estimates as high as two million.

Sex trafficking victim Barbara Amaya explained at a Tedx Talks event in 2015 how she was conditioned by her abuser, saying, "He programmed my young mind. He knew exactly how to create a commodity out of a human being. He knew how to create a trauma bond."

The group has a team of investigators that searches for evidence of sexual exploitation. They have a 24-hour helpline for victims and send personalized messages to the Johns warning them they are being tracked. 

In the first year since they've been investigating the illegal sex trade, Watch Nederlands has helped 131 victims and turned over evidence to police to prosecute 53 cases. They estimate nearly half the country's underage victims go unreported and languish without help.

Girls and boys are lured into a relationship with a "loverboy" who then uses compromising photos or videos to blackmail them into prostitution, sometimes the very same day.

After an unnamed victim was drugged and raped at the age of 15 by an older schoolmate, she explained in an interview, "I ended up going back to school a few days later and he came up to me with an envelope full of pictures and said you have to earn these back or else."

Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, and studies have shown where prostitution is legal sex trafficking increases.

Punishments for the perpetrators are only 18 months on average, though recent cases have resulted in punishments up to five years.

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