La Strada Documentation Center

Compensation for victims of human trafficking in The Netherlands

Document number
Compensation for victims of human trafficking in The Netherlands
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Document type(s)
Guidelines/Recommendations, National Law, Research/Study/Analysis,
human trafficking, human rights, exploitation, compensation, access to justice
This report was written by the FairWork and attorney Marijn Heemskerk.

FairWork fights and prevents modern-day slavery in the Netherlands and assists victims of labour exploitation. Marijn Heemskerk is an attorney practising in Amsterdam. In 2012 and 2013 she conducted legal research into compensation for human trafficking victims in the Netherlands. This report combines the legal knowledge gained from this research with actual cases encountered by FairWork. The report focuses on the possibilities for victims to claim compensation in criminal proceedings. It is addressed to anyone working with victims of human trafficking.

In the past five years the Netherlands has seen increasing attention being paid to compensation for victims of crime in laws and regulations. This report describes a number of these developments, the most important of which is the Dutch Act on Strengthening the Victim’s Position in Criminal Proceedings (Wet versterking positie slachtoffer in het strafproces), which entered into force on 1 January 2011. Despite these positive developments, there is still room for improvement in practice. We make a number of recommendations in that regard. These recommendations are marked in the text and will be summarized at the end of the report.

With this report we aim to increase awareness of the importance of compensation for victims of human trafficking. The assumption that human trafficking is sufficiently addressed by prosecuting perpetrators and imposing fines on employers for illegal employment does not do justice to the victim’s interests. We particularly aim to convince agencies and individuals who assist or represent victims of the importance of compensation. We hope that describing the possibilities for obtaining compensation and the hurdles to be overcome will lead to these possibilities being used more frequentely and with greater success.