1,300 Dutch girls per year trafficked, exploited

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Updated 18 October 2017

1,300 Dutch girls per year trafficked, exploited

AMSTERDAM: At least 1,320 underage Dutch girls between the ages of 12 and 17 fall victim to sexual exploitation in the Netherlands each year, a report on human trafficking published on Wednesday showed.
That group makes up nearly half of female trafficking victims in the Dutch sex industry, Corinne Dettmeijer, National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence against Children, said in the study.
Dettmeijer said the report contained the first reliable statistics on human trafficking in the Netherlands and the first of their kind in Europe, but was concerned by a decline in cases indicating that fewer were being reported.
The 108-page report compiled both domestic and UN figures from 2012-2016.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which cooperated on the report, is encouraging other countries to produce similar data, to help create a clearer international picture of the scale of the crimes.
The total number of human trafficking victims in the Netherlands is roughly five times higher than reported figures indicated, at about 6,250 cases per year, it said, “meaning that many victims stay out of sight of authorities and support agencies.”
Roughly half of about 3,000 cases of sexual exploitation, predominantly woman, involved underage girls.
“The number is high, but what makes these statistics unique is that they show us what specific groups are falling prey to human trafficking,” National Rapporteur Corinne Dettmeijer said in an interview. “It has exposed our blind spots.”
In a report published in 2015, the European Commission said there had been over 30,000 victims of human trafficking between 2010-2012 across all EU member States, of which around 1,000 were child victims were trafficked for sexual exploitation.
Dettmeijer said it was known that a relatively high number of women from Central and Eastern Europe were being forced into the sex industry, but the number of underage Dutch girls was surprising.
The figures were also remarkable because the number of reported cases of trafficking has fallen sharply over the past five years, from nearly 1,300 in 2012 to below a thousand last year.
“I am very concerned about the falling number of reported cases,” Dettmeijer said. “This means that an increasingly larger portion of trafficking of humans is going unreported.”


World’s biggest literature festival kicks off in Jaipur

Updated 24 January 2020

World’s biggest literature festival kicks off in Jaipur

  • Economist and Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee will attend the event

JAIPUR: The 13th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) started on Thursday.

Known as the “greatest literary show on earth,” the five-day event brings to one venue more than 500 speakers of 15 Indian and 35 foreign languages, and over 30 nationalities.

Among the festival’s participants are Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners.

The event has been expanding, with over 400,000 people attending it last year and even more expected to show up this time.  The growing crowd has made the medieval Diggi Palace, which hosts it, look small, and organizers are planning to shift the event to a bigger venue next year.

Scottish historian and writer William Dalrymple, one of the organizers, said: “The first time we came to the Diggi Palace in 2007, 16 people turned up for the session of which 10 were Japanese tourists who walked out after 10 minutes, as they had come to the wrong place. Things have improved a little since then. We are now formally the largest literature festival in the world.”

Dalrymple, who has extensively written on medieval India and South Asia, has played a pivotal role in promoting the festival.

The other two organizers are its director, Sanjoy K. Roy, and writer Namita Gokhale, who along with Dalrymple made the JLF become one of the most sought-after events in India.

“Why has the literary festival taken off in this country in this extraordinary way? It goes back to the tradition of spoken literature, the celebration of literature orally through the spoken word has deep roots in this country,” Dalrymple said.

“So the idea that a literary festival is a foreign import is something that can’t be maintained. We’ve tapped into something very deep here. Literature is alive and is loved in India,” he said.

Inaugurating the festival’s 13th edition, celebrated British mathematician Marcus du Sautoy said: “Every number has its own particular character in the story of mathematics. For me it is 13; 13 is a prime number, an indivisible number, and the JLF is certainly a festival in its prime.”

The festival this year is taking place amid a raging debate about India’s new citizenship legislation and mass agitation on the issue of preserving the secular fabric of the nation.

Reflecting on the prevailing mood in the country, Roy, in his opening remarks, said: “We are now faced with a situation where we see a spread of the narrative of hatred. Literature is the one thing that can push back against it and so can be the arts. All of us have a responsibility to do so and this is not the time to be silent anymore.”

Gokhale said: “Ever since its inception 13 years ago, we at the Jaipur Literary Festival have tried to give a voice to our plural and multilingual culture. We live in a nation which is defined by its diversity, and it is our effort to present a range of perspectives, opinions, and points of view, which together build up a cross-section of current thinking.”

She added: “We seek mutual respect and understanding in our panels — it is important to us that these often conflicting ideas are respectfully presented and heard. We also resist predictable and self-important all-male panels, and try to ensure that the vital voices of women resonate through all aspects of our programming.”

One of the attractions of the event this year is the presence of Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee, who won the prize in economics last year.

There are also panel discussions on Kashmir, the Indian constitution and history.

The prevailing political situation in South Asia is also reflected by the absence of Pakistani. Before, popular Pakistani authors would attend the JLF, but delays in visa issuance and a hostile domestic environment forced the organizers to “desist from extending invitations.”