The National Police in the Netherlands have said that human traffickers are targeting asylum centres, recruiting young women into prostitution. Unaccompanied minors, who are in Europe alone, are particularly vulnerable. In response, the police have established “Flexible Intervention Teams” to look for warning signs around asylum centres.
“The police are hunting dozens of active trafficking gangs and have 47 open investigations into trafficking.”
Read the full report here.
- An asylum-seeker (known as a refugee claimant in Canada) is someone who has left their country of origin and says they are a refugee, but whose claim has not yet been decided by the country in which they are seeking asylum. According to the UNHCR:
“National asylum systems are there to decide which asylum-seekers actually qualify for international protection. Those judged through proper procedures not to be refugees, nor to be in need of any other form of international protection, can be sent back to their home countries.”
- While an asylum-seeker’s case is being processed, they can be at risk for exploitation. They are in a state of limbo, in an unfamiliar country, where finding income and housing is difficult. This is why traffickers target asylum-seekers, knowing that they are in a desperate circumstance.
- Other countries are dealing with similar problems. In Italy, half of those who sell sexual services are Nigerian asylum seekers. In just half a year, 9,350 Nigerians requested asylum in Italy, making them the largest group by origin.
- Efficient asylum procedures, as well as adequate protection and provision while a case is being decided, are key to reducing that vulnerability. Local communities can also get involved by offering housing, resources, and support to asylum-seekers. A great place to start is calling up your local asylum/refugee centre or organization and asking what support they need.
- For those of you in the Toronto area, contact our friends at Romero House.