12 January 2006‏


UNODC Head Welcomes Dutch Campaign against Sexual Exploitation

VIENNA, 12 January (UN Information Service) -- The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Antonio Maria Costa, welcomed the launch of a campaign against sexual exploitation in the Netherlands and said he hoped other countries would follow the Dutch example.

The campaign, which is being launched today by the Dutch Crimestoppers organization Meld Misdaad Anoniem and is financed by the Netherlands Ministry of Justice, will seek to identify possible victims of human trafficking who have been forced to work in the sex industry. Clients of prostitutes, local residents, shopkeepers and taxi-drivers will be encouraged to be aware of the warning signs and to pass on information.

"I welcome this initiative by the Netherlands and hope this campaign will lead to the rescue of victims," Mr. Costa said. "Victims of trafficking suffer the most cruel, degrading and violent treatment. I encourage people to support this important campaign and provide information to their local police or through the hotline. I hope other European countries will also do more to end sexual exploitation."

UNODC assists countries in tackling the growing global problem of trafficking in human beings, especially women and children, addressing the need not only to prosecute traffickers but also to protect victims. It provides expert assistance in areas such as drafting legislation, training police officers and developing witness protection programmes.

The Dutch campaign will help people to recognize the signs of sexual exploitation and encourage them to inform the authorities if they observe suspicious activity. 

Background information:

Meld Misdaad Anoniem (the Dutch organization of Crimestoppers) will launch a campaign against forced prostitution on 12 January. It uses messages such as: Forced labour in prostitution is a crime. Noticed anything? Pass on information to your local police. If you can't: call Meld Misdaad Anoniem 0800-7000.

Meld Misdaad Anoniem works closely with:

Police (especially) experts on human trafficking across the country)
Bureau Nationaal Rapporteur Mensenhandel (Dutch Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings)
EMM (Expertise centre for Human Trade and Trafficking)
STV (Foundation against Trafficking in Women)
De Rode Draad (interest group for sex workers)
Atalantas (anti-trafficking organization run by ex-victims)

The campaign is aimed at promoting awareness among the target groups in terms of recognizing the signs of sexual exploitation, and stimulating them to pass on such information to the police. If this is not an option, those with information they wish to report regarding sexual exploitation can also do so via Meld Misdaad Anoniem ('Report Crime Anonymously').


For further information, contact:

Brian Taylor, Chief, Anti-Trafficking Section, UNODC. Tel: ++ 43 1 26060 4131
Martin Fowke, Programme Officer, Anti-Human Trafficking Unit, UNODC. Tel: ++ 43 1 26060 5193