About 1,089 Nigerian asylum seekers who arrived Netherlands between last year and January this year are reportedly missing, raising serious concern in the country.
The National Research Council (NRC) Handelsblad which collaborated with Lost in Europe in its June 2020 report, said the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) identified a significant number of the cases.
It was further learnt that there’s been a upsurge in the number of Nigerians seeking asylum in The Netherlands, with 2,461 persons recorded in 2019. While 961 of them went missing in 2019, 128 could not be accounted for in January 2020.
Some of the assylum seekers reportedly returned to Nigeria or moved to Italy, but “at least 961 disappeared without a trace”. It is speculated that the missing persons might have become victims of “human trafficking.”
Reacting to the investigative group’s findings, Shamir Ceuleers of the Dutch Centre Against Human and Child Trafficking says the results are not surprising because they follow a pattern that has been going on for years.
The Dutch police should create a specific West African human trafficking unit, which invests in knowledge and expertise and is well connected to the West African community that we have here in the Netherlands.
“And by using this and creating this expertise, the Dutch police would be well equipped to prosecute these trafficking rings.
“Within Europe, it’s essential to work together and to exchange experiences but also exchange data of the missing children and women and men.
“So if they disappear and pop up somewhere in conditions considered human trafficking, they can easily be identified.“I think that’s really essential, and to give them the protection they need.”
The house of representatives in the Netherlands has called for an investigation into the disappearance.