Scope of the project

Local city government is confronted with indications of human trafficking:

  • in the hotel and catering industry (cafés, bars, private clubs), massage salons, establishments for sexual activities, buildings for (window) prostitution, ... (= sexual exploitation)
  • in hand-carwashes, night-shops, betting centers, housing foreign workers (= economic exploitation)
  • in the public domain (= begging)

Some of these establishments are subjected to an obligatory permit by local aministration, as a result of which several checks are performed (compliance with building regulations, integrity of the applicant, financial situation of the business, ... ) However, the financial screening is limited and often fails to identify criminal activities which could lead to a refusal of the permit. As a result, human traffickers are able to use legal economy to facilitate and sustain their criminal activities, sometimes even supported by government subsidies.

A thorough financial screening could provide clues of human trafficking, both during the screening process of the requested permit, as during the business operation. This also includes a thorough scrutiny of the legal forms of company, assets and deposit money flows. Reports of bothersome and irritant behaviour or slumlords might not be related to human trafficking on first sight, but broader screening could reveal clear links.