Coordination Centre Human Trafficking (CoMensha)
Visiting address: Barchman Wuytierslaan 10
3818 LH Amersfoort
tel: + 31 33 4481186
fax: + 31 33 461 80 64
The Dutch Foundation against trafficking (STV) was established in 1987. From 1995 to 2004, STV was the official coordinator of the La Strada project. Since the foundation of La Strada International, STV is one of the nine La Strada member organisations. In 2007, STV decided on a name change to Coordination Centre Human Trafficking (CoMensha), to better reflect its work with female as well as male victims of exploitative working conditions. CoMensha, whilst remaining an independent organisation, is incorporated in the Dutch Shelters Federation and is headed by the national coordinator. In total, seven staff members work at the CoMensha helpdesk. CoMensha does not work entirely according to the La Strada method (with three programmes) but functions as a national reporting and registration point for trafficked persons.
CoMensha receives about 800 reports on cases of trafficking every year. The helpdesk creates, in as far as possible, comprehensive files on the registered clients. These data on, amongst others, the exploitation situation, shelter, support services provided and the number of referrals are received from CoMensha partner organisations or other authorities and persons reporting trafficking cases, such as the police, shelters, welfare organisations or individuals. CoMensha reports to the Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings, who uses these data for annual reports and recommendations to the Dutch council of ministers.
Shelter & Support
CoMensha maintains regional networks, established to support the shelter and (social) support for trafficked persons. The network consists of shelters, lawyers, social work and welfare groups, (mental) health organisations, police, youth care, (refugee) minor support groups, victim support and local governmental community organisations. Network cooperation takes place with the aim to offer clients the necessary support. If a trafficked person is reported, CoMensha places her/him, if needed, in a shelter home. Then the local network takes over care and support responsibilities, under the coordination of the local care coordinator. CoMensha supports the network by, amongst others, providing consultation about possible solutions for care shortcomings, chairing meetings, offering specific capacity building (trainings) or by supporting negotiations with the local authority about e.g. staff increases.
Return & Reintegration
Once a client returns to her/his country of origin, CoMensha coordinates return and reintegration in cooperation with different organisations. If a client returns, CoMensha has links to the country of origin through the national La Strada or other organisations to ensure the first shelter and support steps towards reintegration are implemented. Some clients, however, have good reasons for not wanting to return. They are also supported by CoMensha. They can try to apply for an extension of a residency permit, for which the client's safety file can be crucial. CoMensha creates safety files on clients with all relevant information relating to the position of the client and the situation in the country of origin.
Information & Public Relations
CoMensha regularly receives requests to provide expertise. Requests for information are mainly made by specific professional groups, such as the police or persons employed at shelter and welfare organisations or at the Immigration and Naturalisation services (IND). CoMensha gives informative seminars on general background information on trafficking, the different forms trafficking in human beings can take and how to recognise trafficking cases. During these seminars, CoMensha also promotes its trafficking indicators list: what are the signals that indicate trafficking, how do you recognise them and how can you use the indicators list to this effect? Further, the seminars focus on the next steps and measures to be taken. What can you do if you suspect that someone is a victim of trafficking? Next to this, CoMensha provides detailed information about trafficking in human beings and the activities of CoMensha during conferences and other meetings. CoMensha supports policy development in the field of prostitution and trafficking in human beings by offering advice to the government - on request and by own initiative - on the basis of the information collected, the signals, problems and shortcomings and based on experiences gained through monitoring national and international developments in practice.