Last September, the Dutch government dismissed a human trafficking case involving nine Filipino truck drivers. The Dutch Public Prosecution Service handed down the decision and ended an investigation into allegations that the drivers were brought to the European Union and employed under exploitative working conditions.
It is a bittersweet and tragic ending to a three-year battle to prove what labor activists said was a case of human trafficking with “overwhelming evidence.” The decision also spells upheaval for the drivers who had been living and working in the Netherlands for the last three years under a special visa issued to them while their case was under investigation.
Now, the drivers—many of whom had already started new lives in the Netherlands—face being uprooted and sent back to the Philippines.
Most stories about human trafficking and labor exploitation end at their exposure. Once media attention has been brought to these issues, there is the presumption that these cases will be investigated and those responsible will be held accountable. However, the case of the Filipino truck drivers shows the uneven side of justice that leaves victims-survivors of human trafficking and labor exploitation haplessly caught in the middle.