Defence for Children - ECPAT treats all reports that are received via this site confidentially. After assessing the report, we forward the information to the police (anonymised if desired). Every report is taken seriously by a police team that is specialized in investigating travelling Dutch child sex offenders. This team has a strong network with foreign police services.
Whether a report can actually turn into an investigation in the country itself or otherwise in the Netherlands depends on many factors. If a report of sexual abuse of children abroad has sufficient leads for further investigation, the Dutch police will contact its partners in the country concerned. The Dutch police does not have investigative powers abroad, but cooperates with foreign police authorities. Investigation abroad is therefore carried out by the local authorities of the country concerned. Dutch perpetrators can be convicted in the Netherlands for child sexual abuse abroad, but prosecution preferably takes place in the country where the abuse took place.
The police is always happy when people report suspicious situations and when the witnesses are willing to provide further information. This could be information that may not have been provided at the time of submitting the report, because it was not considered to be relevant. When you witnessed a suspicious situation, the police can ask you to make a witness statement. The role as a witness in a possible criminal investigation is then explained by the police. It is then up to the witness to decide what further role he/she wants to have.
Every effort is made to end the unsafe situation for a child. This is custom-made for each situation and where necessary there is cooperation with relevant organizations. The interest and safety of the child always come first in matters of the abuse or exploitation of a child.
If in doubt, you can first discuss the situation with an employee of the hotline. You can call the office during office hours: +31 – (0)71 - 516 09 80 or send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The police needs reports to track down perpetrators and get children out of exploitation situations. However, this does not mean that a report immediately results in an arrest or a house search. The police will first investigate whether the information that has been shared with the police is actually correct. This is to prevent false reports. Reports can certainly lead to arrests and convictions. There are many examples of Dutch people who have been convicted for child sexual abuse abroad.
The main task of the police is to find out the truth. This means that it is first necessary to find out whether the information shared with the police is actually correct. This means that a report does not immediately result in an arrest or a house search. Investigations into reports about Dutch people in suspicious situations with children abroad can therefore lead to different outcomes. One of those outcomes is that there is insufficient evidence to proceed an investigation (at that time). This does not mean that the police does nothing with the report. The information is filed in police systems, so that this information may come in handy for any future reports. Therefore, be as specific and comprehensive as possible in describing suspicious situations and upload - if possible and safely - a photo or video of the situation on the reporting site.
According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, every person below the age of eighteen has the right to be protected against sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. The age at which children are legally allowed to have sex varies by country. This is also called ‘age of consent’. In the Netherlands the age of consent is sixteen years. Under no circumstances should the minor be forced or persuaded by promising or giving money or goods. If such occurs, then we can speak of sexual exploitation.
- An adult touches a child inappropriately at the pool, beach, restaurant, bar or club
- An adult isolates himself/herself with a child, e.g. in a hotel room or a (private) apartment
- A child is dancing (half) naked in front of adults
- Someone offers a child or young person for sexual services
- Someone is looking for sexual services from children or young people
- A hotel or organisation allows child sexual abuse on its premises or via the company
- An adult talks about his/her sexual experience with a child
- An adult takes many pictures of children, especially on the beach and at the pool
- An adult shows sexual abuse images to a child
Try to fill in the following information in the report form:
- As much detail as possible about the perpetrator(s) and victim(s)
- A description of what you have seen or heard
- Where and when this happened
- Other relevant or notable details
Note: Never start an investigation!
- Child abuse and exploitation in the Netherlands: Police
- Images of child sexual abuse: Hotline Online Abuse Images
- Hotlines in other countries: Dontlookaway.report
- Helpline for people with feelings of paedophilia: Stop it Now
- Report Crimes Anonymous (0800-7000)
- Travel organization (tour operator, tour leader)
- Local National Police: Anti-Trafficking of Children's Unit
- Local NGO (e.g. ECPAT) or at ECPAT International: email@example.com
Sexual abuse and exploitation leads to great emotional, physical and social damage to victims. Abuse and exploitation are usually accompanied by physical and mental violence, and so with injuries, pain and fear as a result. Victims also have a high risk of unwanted pregnancy, HIV/Aids and other sexual transmittable diseases. In the long run, they deal with feelings of guilt, depression, trauma and a negative self-image. Furthermore, victims often suffer from a stigma. They are therefore excluded from education, for example. If a victim ends up in prostitution, it is difficult to get out of it.
- Children living in poverty
- Children who are neglected, mistreated or abused
- Refugee children who are travelling without parents
- Children of minority groups
- Children without parental care
- Children living on the street
- Children who have to work
There is a code of conduct for the travel industry: the "Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation" (Thecode.org). More than 300 organizations in 150 countries have signed The Code, from tour operators (TUI) and hotels (AccorHotels), to airlines (Delta), restaurants and night clubs. The Code was developed by ECPAT International, together with the travel industry and the UN World Tourism Organization. You can find a list of all Dutch companies that have signed The Code here below.
The Ministry of Justice and Security has drawn up action plans to stop Dutch travelling child sex offenders. The action plans focus on: prevention, criminal justice, and cooperation with NGOs and authorities in other countries. The Ministry is also a partner in the Dutch Don't Look Away campaign. Since October 2012, combating Dutch travelling child sex offenders has been explicitly added to the duties of the police. Liaison officers have been deployed in Southeast Asia specifically dealing with this topic. The liaison officer ensures that cooperation with the police abroad runs smoothly and supports the police abroad if a Dutch suspect is involved in a case.
There is no single cause for sexual exploitation of children. Poverty, the demand for sex with children and young people, the internet and the possibility to fly to all parts of the worlds are major causes. In poor countries there is often a lack of education, high unemployment and inadequate law enforcement. If the tourism sector then grows in a unregulated way, children are at risk of being exploited by travellers.
There is no single description of a child sex abuser. Child sex abusers are of all ages, nationalities, religions and strata of the population. They can be straight or gay, married or single. Although the majority is men, there are also female child sex abusers. Not only tourists abuse children abroad, but also business travellers, aid workers, volunteers, emigrants, expats, soldiers, diplomats or truck drivers.
Sexual exploitation of children occurs all over the world. It can occur in both developed and poor countries. However, there are countries where this occurs more visibly than in other countries. Factors that influence this include poverty, lack of law enforcement and corruption.
The Don't Look Away campaign in the Netherlands is a collaboration between the Ministry of Justice and Security, National Police, Royal Military Police, National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence against Children, ANVR (branch organization), TUI Netherlands, Corendon, Footprint Travel, Defence for Children - ECPAT, Terre des Hommes, Plan International Nederland and Free a Girl.