Support buckling under Belgium’s biggest ever people-trafficking case

Payoke, an organisation that supports victims of exploitation, says it’s struggling to support all the victims of people-traffickers connected to the Borealis plant in the port of Antwerp.  

Payoke’s Klaus Vanhoutte speaks of the largest case of people-trafficking in Belgium ever.  “We have identified 174 victims.  This is a catastrophe.  Historically speaking Belgium has never witnessed a bigger case of people-trafficking.  I believe this is one of the biggest in Europe.”

Initially 55 victims were identified.  A further one hundred are now expected to be added to this tally.  “We can’t help everybody” says Vanhoutte.

The 55 initial victims received accommodation in the City of Antwerp.

Accommodation still needs to be found for over one hundred victims.  “They are now at precarious locations where they were placed by the recruiting agency and where they were exploited. The conditions are atrocious”.

Payoke doesn’t see how it can support all victims.  “I don’t know how to deal with it.  I’m supposed to be on holiday but this has cancelled that out.  Everybody is at work and we’re trying to help everybody but I don’t know how we can sort it!” 

Top stories