Forced prostitution

Forced prostitution

Human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation is called forced prostitution.
Young women from regions such as Eastern Europe and Africa are lured to Germany under false pretences
and then forced to sell their bodies against their will.
However, German girls also remain victims of pimps.

What is forced prostitution?

The image of voluntary, self-sufficient sex workers is widely distributed in Germany, yet only applies to a very small proportion of people. The majority of women in the red-light district work under forced conditions and are sexually exploited.

German girls are often forced into prostitution via the loverboy method. The loverboy method involves seducing the victim over a longer period of time in order to form an emotional attachment with their pimp. This person then deceives and manipulates them into prostitution work and exploitation.

Young women from Eastern Europe and Africa on the other hand often have no prospects in their home country. Human traffickers take advantage of this to lure them to Western Europe under false pretences. Some are promised a career in modelling; others are promised work in the catering industry or other sectors. Others believe that they can work independently as a prostitute in Western Europe and earn lots of money. During their travels, their passport is taken from them and they are threatened, beaten and raped.

Upon arrival in their destination country, they are forced to work in brothels, rent-by-the-hour places or on the streets, and are repeatedly sold like goods. They are told that they must now repay the expensive travel costs. The constant change of location makes it impossible to form solid relationships. The women are uprooted, helpless and can barely communicate. They have no papers and are therefore considered illegal immigrants. They rarely go to the police for fear of deportation. The pimps seriously threaten them and their families. 

The mental and physical consequences of continuous rape, violence and even torture are immense. Many women, girls and boys are severely traumatised.

One of the main problems in the fight against forced prostitution is that victims are unwilling to come forward as they are extremely intimidated. It is therefore necessary to support and back them to obtain clear witness statements.


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Facts and figures

The numbers speak for themselves!

0 %
the victims identified come from Germany
0 %
the victims are younger than 21 years old
1 %
have experienced sexual abuse during childhood

Facts and legal situation

Human trafficking is a criminal offence in Germany. Forced prostitution as a form of human trafficking is governed in § 232a of the German Penal Code (StGB). Forced prostitution is also punishable under the umbrella of “exploitation of prostitutes” and “pimping”.

Behind the scenes in Germany’s red-light district

The image of voluntary, self-sufficient sex workers is widely distributed in Germany, yet only applies to a very small proportion of people. The majority of those affected in the red-light district experience a completely different world.

Why do women end up in forced prostitution?

The reasons behind exploitation in prostitution are as varied as the victims’ countries of origin. The predicament can vary greatly depending on whether a victim comes from Germany or abroad.

They think that prostitution is a completely normal job and that the women do well in it. But women never do well in prostitution. The only ones who benefit from prostitution are the brothel owners and that’s it. And, perhaps also the State, as they collect taxes from it.

Pimping methods

The loverboy method, extreme violence towards victims and their families, voodoo magic in Africa, blackmail with secret video recordings: pimps use a wide variety of techniques to force girls into prostitution.

Voluntary vs. forced prostitution

The public debate on prostitution frequently differentiates between voluntary prostitution and forced prostitution. However, the lines between them are often blurred. Coercion and violence are still found in “voluntary” sex work.

Why is it so difficult to leave?

Many people ask themselves why women in prostitution do not just leave if the situation is so terrible. “Why don’t the women just run away?” There are many reasons why women don’t (or can’t) leave prostitution.


Your help matters

Together, we can fight against forced prostitution in this country. Together, we can make a huge difference to people’s lives. There are many ways you can get involved.

Work with us directly

We are regularly seeking Federal Volunteers/Voluntary Social Year (FSJ) and interns to support our work. Voluntary work is also possible.

Your donation

Our work is solely supported by your donation. Your donation is used to help our organisation and others in our network.

Other options

We provide materials and presentations so that you can raise awareness of this topic in your own environment. Contact us!


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