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Sex trafficking is human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
Many Eastern European and African girls are easy targets for human traffickers as the victims lack attractive future opportunities in their home countries. The girls are enticed into leaving their native countries with promises of a job, typically as a model or in the domestic or service industry. Some of the girls assume that they can work independently as prostitutes and thus make a good living in Western Europe. However, during the journey the girls will find their passports confiscated and they get threatened, beaten and raped. Once they have arrived at the destination, the victims are forced to work as prostitutes in brothels and on the streets in order to pay back their debt to the perpetrators (i.e. visa procurement expenses, travel expenses, accommodation, food etc.). Being constantly transferred from one city to another, the girls cannot establish permanent relationships and they are left completely uprooted and helpless. As the victims no longer are in possession of any identification papers, they do not turn to the authorities for help out of fear for deportation for immigration violations. The traffickers make severe threats against the girls and their family members. Roughly a fifth of the victims are minors.
The emotional and physical harm caused by constant rape and violence, even torture, is immeasurable. Many of the women, girls and boys are severely traumatised.
One of the biggest problems in combat against sex trafficking is that the victims are reluctant to press charges, as they are extremely fearful. Therefore, it is essential that the girls receive counselling and care so that they are able to give a witness statement in court proceedings.