The government is to launch an investigation into the victims of ‘loverboys’ in youth care and women’s shelters.
Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten and Deputy Health Minister Marlies Vedlhuizen van Zanten say the investigation is intended to determine the scope of the problem and how these new-style pimps operate.
Loverboys are young men who befriend vulnerable girls, woo them into a sexual relationship, then coerce them into having sex with other men in exchange for financial and other rewards. Which the loverboys keep for themselves.
Anita de Wit, chair of the national foundation StopLoverboysNU, says the problems are greatest in the south-eastern province of Limburg.
''In the south there’s still a taboo on the phenomenon loverboys, but we are receiving reports from a variety of sources that the problem is quite serious down there. Boys, but girls too, infiltrate institutions to intimidate their prey into working as a prostitute.”
Earlier, a report released on 2 May by three youth care facilities in the south of Limburg concluded that recruitment was increasingly taking place via the internet and that loverboys were often members of international organised gangs.
The authors found that many loverboys moved to southern Limburg from the major cities because the girls in Limburg were more ‘naive’. Their victims were put to work as prostitutes in major foreign cities such as Antwerp, Brussels and Cologne. The average age of the victims went up from 15 and 16 years old to around 18. Loverboys make an estimated 65 victims a year in southern Limburg.
A large number of experts from the police, the Public Prosecutor's Office, youth care authorities, probation and after-care services and regional health authorities were interviewed for the report.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide
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