Online chat program identifies 299 victims of human trafficking | NOW

Thanks to a chat program, the Center against Child and Human Trafficking (CKM) identified 299 victims of human trafficking in 2019. Almost all of them are victims of sexual exploitation, the CKM reports Wednesday.

89 percent of the victims contacted themselves via the online program Chat with Fier, which makes it possible to talk anonymously with a counselor. The chat also received messages from people who reported about another person.

According to the CKM, two thirds of the people who sought contact were minors. More than a quarter were fifteen years old or younger and in more than half of the cases, the exploitation situation lasted more than a year. Several perpetrators were involved in one in five victims.

Estimates show that about 1,300 girls in the Netherlands are victims of human trafficking. “According to the National Rapporteur on Human Trafficking and Sexual Violence against Children, about 2 to 3 percent of this is visible”, says CKM spokesperson Shamir Ceuleers. “We were able to identify and support 12 percent of this group.” He calls it a “modest but nevertheless important step in the right direction”.

Research into the data from Chat met Fier shows that about ninety victims of sexual exploitation came forward in the first four months of this year. The CKM saw an increase during the corona period. Research is being done on this.