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May 19, 2014

Dutch Report: Traffickers Still Have Impunity

By Jill Savitt

Last week, a new report was released in the Netherlands that criticizes law enforcement officials for not following through on investigations into human trafficking gangs in the fight against modern-day slavery.

The report traces 77 human trafficking cases in the Netherlands and concludes that police neglected to use a critical tool in their arsenal: financial investigations that would follow the money trail and, ideally, prohibit traffickers from reaping profits. Financial investigations were undertaken in only 14 of the 77 cases. The report also found that impunity is common. In 38 percent of the cases, only one or two members of a gang were arrested while the rest went free.

“In order to frustrate trafficking, all the links must be broken,” the report stated. “Arresting one or two people does not solve anything.”

Anyone who takes a hard look at how authorities follow up on human trafficking investigations will find the results wanting. Modern-day slavery is the second largest criminal enterprise in the world after illicit narcotics, generating an estimated $32 billion in profits for traffickers each year. Human Rights First's new campaign on trafficking focuses on disrupting the business operations of traffickers, who undertake their crimes because human trafficking is so profitable. By working together with law enforcement to change the calculus for these exploiters, we can begin to end the abhorrent practice of buying and selling human beings.