The SZW Inspectorate, formerly known as the Labor Inspectorate, cannot properly tackle the exploitation of labor migrants because the law offers too little room for this. The Inspectorate therefore believes that criminal law must be amended. Labor exploitation should be treated as a separate offence, rather than as a form of human trafficking, as is currently the case.

It is stated in a report that the Inspectorate sent to State Secretary Wiersma (VVD) more than a week ago and which is reported by NRC.

Exploitation takes place in the Netherlands because people receive far too little wages, work far too long working days or do very unsafe work. Its exact size is difficult to determine due to its covert nature. The Inspectorate SZW speaks of dark numbers.

No sequel

All reports are checked, but some are not followed up, because according to criminal law it must be determined that there is “the slightest indication of being a victim of human trafficking”. That is difficult, because it means that, among other things, it must be proved that the employee in question has been recruited, transported and housed for the purpose of exploitation.

“It has turned out that in serious cases prosecution is not feasible, while the abuse does justify setting a standard through criminal law,” the report said. In order to be more successful in prosecuting, the Inspectorate SZW therefore wants labor exploitation to be made punishable as an independent crime. Proving the wrongdoing in itself should be sufficient to be able to prosecute the employer.

In September, the House of Representatives already passed a motion requesting that the law be amended. The motion followed a critical report by the Court of Audit, which concluded that more money and more inspectors at the Inspectorate SZW had hardly resulted in more fines.

The Minister of Social Affairs then pointed out that the cabinet also considers a change to the law desirable, but that a missionary cabinet is needed for this.


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