Netherlands: Organised crime is infiltrating care sector, exploiting vulnerable clients
18 Jan 2021

Several small care organisations in Twente forced their vulnerable clients – often troubled youngsters or people with psychological or addiction issues – to work on marijuana plantations and even trafficked them for sex, according to a new report published on behalf of the healthcare ministry.

The organisations, often one-person operated companies with a few clients, offered different types of care, including sheltered work programme for groups and individuals, and one offered sheltered housing. They were financed via local authorities and individual care budgets.

‘Many of the clients came from closed communities and often had an ethnic minority background,’ the report said. ‘Respondents stress that these people are more sensitive to false promises and manipulation.

It is the first time that the link between fraudulent care organisations and crime in a specific area have been investigated and the results are worrying,’ healthcare fraud agency IKZ said. ‘We hope that more attention is focused on this problem.’

The investigation is based on 22 organisations identified earlier by the RIEC, a government agency which focuses on the way organised crime infiltrates society, and covers the period between 2017 and 2019.

Some people were put to work as drug runners, while others were made to trim marijuana plants as part of their occupational therapy. In one institution, there was also evidence that an 18-year-old woman with mental disabilities had been exploited sexually, the report said.

Care minister Tamara van Ark sent the report to parliament on Friday, as the coalition cabinet resigned over a scandal involving the tax office. She has not yet commented on the findings.


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