18th of October is the EU Anti-Trafficking Day. What is human trafficking?

“A man said that I could earn money for my family. He helped me to come here, but then took my passport away. Now I am being forced to perform hard work 12 hours a day.” This is just one story of someone who has experienced human trafficking. Worldwide, no fewer than 50 million people are victims of human trafficking. Many of these victims remain invisible and are therefore without help. The 18th of October is the EU Anti-Trafficking Day, on which we shine a spotlight on this problem. But what exactly is human trafficking? And can you do something about it yourself?

18 oktober: Dag tegen Mensenhandel

What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking involves practices such as recruiting, transporting, harbouring or accommodating people while using coercion. Human trafficking is also called exploitation. We speak of exploitation if someone is forced to do particular things from which others reap the benefits. There are various ways in which someone can be forced, for instance through violence, threats or abuse.

People smuggling is common as well

People smuggling is offering help and transport to people in order to smuggle them across the border. People smugglers take advantage of a stranger's distress. The smuggled persons pay the smuggler for services such as transport, accommodation or forged (travel) documents. People smuggling often goes hand in hand with human trafficking.

How to recognise a victim of human trafficking

There are various forms of human trafficking, such as sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, criminal exploitation or organ removal. Each form has its own signals. Human trafficking usually involves a combination of several signals. For example, someone is forced to work long days, is forced to have sex or is no longer in possession of their own passport.

If you recognise signals, sound the alarm!

If you recognise signals or suspect that someone is a victim of human trafficking, then call the police on +599 – 715 8000 (Bonaire), +599 – 416 3737 (Saba) or +599 – 318 2333 (St. Eustatius). Alternatively, you can call the police tip-off line: 9310.

What is the government doing against human trafficking?

The authorities of the Caribbean Netherlands are as comprehensive as possible in tackling human trafficking. In doing so, they engage all the parties that can make a contribution. Together with these partners, the government provides care and support to victims of human trafficking.

If you want to know more about human trafficking, please visit the website

On the website you will find more information and several videos about human trafficking.