Members of Congress are targeting an international child-trafficking scandal, asking Turkey to provide evidence and seeking a full and “transparent” investigation in the Netherlands over allegations that a top justice officer there has been involved in child rape.
U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J., issued a statement calling the case “shocking and horrible,” but the suspect, Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice Joris Demmink, who apparently has been defended by the U.S. State Department’s Hague office, is facing credible allegations.
While Demmink has been accused multiple times, “the investigation into these accusations was suddenly and inexplicably halted, and law-enforcement officials involved were allegedly sworn to secrecy,” Smith said at a recent hearing on the issue of child trafficking.
He noted the accusations, among others, have been that Demmink raped two Turkish boys, now adults.
“The allegations are shocking and horrible, Mr. Demmink has a right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and that is a sacred right that I’m sure we all want to protect. At the same time, the allegations, when taken in their full context, are credible, and deserve to be properly investigated so that a prosecutor can make a responsible decision whether to proceed with a case against Mr. Demmink. That investigation has never happened – the investigations that have taken place have been a travesty and have done nothing to clear Mr. Demmink’s name. Rather, they have raised further questions,” he said.
The request to Turkey for its evidence comes from Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas. He submitted the request because the allegations are that Demmink assaulted children in Turkey when he traveled there .
“It has come to my attention that Secretary General of the Dutch Ministry of Justice, Mr. Joris Demmink, allegedly made an agreement in the mid-1990s with the government of Turkey to cover up multiple complaints of child sexual abuse filed against him,” said the letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Investigations into the matter reportedly have found that Turkish police officers provided Mr. Demmink with minor boys during his visits to Turkey in the 1990s. According to law enforcement officers in Turkey and the Netherlands, Mr. Demmink used the power of his position to obstruct efforts to file complaints against him and used investigations as a way to deter his accusers,” the letter said.
An attorney in the Netherlands, Adele van der Plas, is representing several of the men who remember being victimized by Demmink. She told WND today the Netherlands has decided to back Demmink “in spite of all the overwhelming proof.”
She cited four police reports naming Demmink as a suspect and said six victims have come forward to identify him. She said a Turkish policeman who was assigned to provide security but instead was asked to kidnap boys from the street for Demmink to rape has come forward.
The U.S. Embassy in the Hague even apparently has defended Demmink. A WND source reported that the State Department’s operation there argued to members of Congress that “the allegations have repeatedly been investigated but proof was never found for his having committed criminal offenses.”
The report said “the prosecutor’s office … concluded that there was no evidence to substantiate the allegation.”
The report forwarded to members of Congress said prosecutors decided against a case because the testimony of one of the alleged victims represented by van der Plaswas was deemed “unreliable.”
“If there was anything to it, it would have come out after all these years,” the report said.
But van der Plas told WND, “There has never been a credible investigation into his behavior.”
She said the investigations simply are halted.
“The Dutch Ministry of Justice doesn’t take any child abuse case seriously at all,” she said. “All the pedophile rings in Europe have been investigated and some have gone to jail. Not in the Netherlands. The Dutch have been cited by the U.N. as a center of child trafficking.”
She said the reason is that the criminal case would “touch the top power elite.”
“If they investigate they will find massive fraud and corruption that Demmink has been able to deflect and insulate himself and many others,” she said.
Smith said at his recent congressional briefing, “The sex trafficking and abuse of children is one of the most despicable, violent crimes on earth – shattering the lives of the victims and their families – a crime from which the victims struggle for a lifetime to recover.
“The traffickers and abusers rely on their ability to frighten a child into silence or the reluctance of adults to listen when children speak. They also use their own reputations, standing, or power in the community to prevent allegations from being properly considered and investigated,” he said.
The briefing focused on how justice systems can most effectively respond to domestic and international allegations of child trafficking.
Van der Plas appeared at the hearing, as did private investigator Klaas Langendoen, who has investigated some of the cases, as well as a survivor of child trafficking in Amsterdam.
See a video report on what they’ve uncovered:
In the video, Langendoen explains how the nation’s child trafficking works: Children are enticed into the business then kept there by blackmail.
One victim said on the video that he first was given food and a place to stay but soon found himself blackmailed by nude pictures his “friends” had taken. Then it was child pornography, he said.
Officials from the State Department declined to respond to WND requests for comment.
The Demmink case falls on the heels of another “situation” for the agency. Just days earlier, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took responsibility for the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11.
An ArrestDemmink.com website has been launched to mobilize action against the Ministry of Justice leader.
The website, which cites a London Guardian story calling Amsterdam a center for pedophiles, said the fact that no action has resulted is easy to explain.
“Without an official criminal investigation, based on the Dutch Code of Criminal Procedures, the hands of the prosecutors were, in their own words, completely tied. Without an official suspect and criminal investigation, prosecutors lacked the authority to travel to Turkey to interrogate the available witnesses and to properly investigate the data of Demmink’s official and non-official trips in the 1990s. Instead of performing its own research, the prosecutor’s office simply accepted Demmink’s ‘alibi.’”
But the push for a full review seems to be gaining steam.
The Miami Herald reported just days ago that the Rebecca Project for Human Rights asked Congress to not only bar Demmink from entering the U.S. but to freeze any of Demmink’s U.S.-based assets, pending an investigation.
Executive Director Imani Walker and Policy Director Kwame Fosu said in a statement, “Allegations of sexual violence by Dutch Justice Ministry Secretary-General Joris Demmink continue to remain unaccounted for, despite brave victims of Demmink’s crimes, in both the Netherlands and Turkey, demanding justice.”
They continued, “Just as Penn State had to tear down the wall of silence that allowed some authorities to look the other way while Jerry Sandusky violated young boys, Dutch authorities must do the same in the Netherlands.”