On Thursday, the United Nations special inspector Urmila Bhoola called on the Belgian government to invest itself more in the fight against all modern forms of slavery. She said good detection and identification of victims is essential. At the end of her 8 day visit to Belgium, the expert said “I am glad that special units that examine exploitation complaints exist within the Social Work Inspection program and within the police”. “But potential victims, such as children and other vulnerable groups, are not sought out, identified, and sent to the appropriate authorities. Therefore, there is still a risk they will be exploited or mistreated”.
The South-African has been a special inspector on modern forms of slavery for the United Nations since the 2nd of June 2014. Over the last few days, she got to know the Belgian legal system through meetings in Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent and Namur. During her visit, Urmila Bhoola underlined the necessity to teach all front line players (police, inspection services, social services etc) to recognise victims of modern forms of slavery.
She applauded Belgium’s multidiscipline approach to the problem, as well as the service voucher system, which reduces the risk of abuse. She called for more information campaigns, a better centralisation of data, and severe sanctions for perpetrators.