- - Friday, September 14, 2012

The only difference between the Secretary General of the Dutch Ministry of Justice Joris Demmink and Jerry Sandusky of Penn State is that Demmink is free and Sandusky is in jail. The case of the Secretary General of the Dutch Ministry of Justice Joris Demmink is too much like the case of Jerry Sandusky of Penn State to be ignored. Both men have long histories of sexually abusing young boys. Both men held positions of authority in the institutions they worked for and both men were highly respected by their peers and communities. What allowed for their crimes to be covered-up is the belief that the victims are not telling the truth or seeking personal gain coupled with the failure of a few good men to do the right thing.

Since 1998 Joris Demmink has been the subject of thwarted investigations that have failed to proceed to prosecution for sexual exploitation and sex tourism (see www.arrestdemmink.com). It is not a coincidence that the investigations for sex trafficking and sex abuse by Demmink are abruptly ended, as these investigations are under the jurisdiction of the perpetrator himself, in his capacity as the Secretary General of the Dutch Ministry of Justice.

Just as in the case of Sandusky, the outcries of the victims were unheeded. The fact that three men have come forward to describe the personal hell they, as well as others, endured as young boys by Mr. Demmink in the Netherlands and in Turkey has not spurred any legal action against the Secretary General of the Dutch Ministry of Justice. These boys have all pointed to Demmink as the person responsible for raping and sodomizing them in brothels in the Netherlands and in Turkey as well as in official government limousines, but their accusations have not led to a truly independent investigation. This fact is well established. The fact that the Embassy of the Netherlands claims that Demmink has not been to Turkey since 1986 but official travel documents show him in Turkey five times since 1995 appears to question the veracity of our ally. Even taped depositions from former chief of police in the Netherlands and a law enforcement official in Turkey, stating that Demmink is a pedophile and preys on young boys, have not led anywhere. This is a downright crime. The fact that our own Department of State has seen fit to rate the Netherlands as a Tier 1 country in its Trafficking of Persons Report (TIPS), meaning that the country acknowledges that sex trafficking occurs but is taking actions to address the problem, causes many human rights and child protection organizations to question what actions were taken that allow the Secretary General of the Dutch Ministry of Justice to continue in office without any transparent or accountable investigation.

Three good men in the U.S. House of Representatives delivered a letter to the European Union’s (EU) Chairman Christian Ehler expressing concern that allowing Demmink to control the prosecution of sex tourism seemingly undermines the Netherland’s responsibility under the EU’s bilateral protocols combating child trafficking.

Demmink is expected to retire from his post in September and leave Holland. Thus, it is critical that Turkey make the announcement that it will fully and expeditiously investigate the allegations against Demmink before he flees. His generous retirement funds currently held in New York City allow the Secretary General to travel the world free to prey on little boys without any accountability. On August 27, 2012, the Rebecca Project and other coalition members met with Mr. H.P. Schreinmachers, the Counselor for Justice at the Netherlands Embassy in Washington D.C., to discuss transparency and investigation details of Demmink by prosecutors in the Netherlands.

The Rebecca Project for Human Rights and members of the coalition against the actions of Secretary General Demmink urge Members of Congress to hold oversight hearings on the Department of States TIP ratings in light of the apparent contradiction between Tier 1 status and sexual exploitation on the part of a high ranking official. We ask members of Congress both Democrat and Republican to put aside partisanship to urge both Turkey and the Netherlands to listen to their own law enforcement officers and seek justice for the victims. Furthermore we ask that the House of Representatives pass a resolution barring Mr. Demmink from entering the U.S. until a fair and transparent investigation and trial is conducted into his actions toward children.

Children lose their very souls, their childhood and their futures by being used by adults for sexual pleasure. Have we not learned anything from Sandusky? Why do nations around the world tolerate sex trafficking and exploitation of children? Why do so few good men come forward to protect or defend these innocents? Why is Sandusky in jail while Demmink roams free?

Kwame Fosu is the Policy Director for the Rebecca Project for Human Rights, Washington, DC.

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