The loverboy scam always follows the same pattern: Offenders pretend that they have found their one true love, make girls or young women emotionally dependent on them and then force them into prostitution.
Initial contact is usually made via social networks and dating sites. Loverboys begin this process by deliberately seeking out girls and young women who demonstrate low self-esteem or who are having problems at school or with their families.
The offenders pretend to have a love affair or relationship with their victims over weeks and months while making them submissively dependent, whereby the victim is often completely separated from her family and circle of friends. With only this relationship left in their lives, it is often impossible for victims to escape the offender’s hold over them.
Loverboys subsequently entice or force their victims into prostitution. The perpetrators pretend to these girls and women that they are suffering from financial difficulties and that they want to use the money earned to build a future together. It is often the case that perpetrators use drugs and physical or psychological abuse in order to exploit their victims or they severely intimidate them.
The loverboy method is still not widely known about among young people. This Explainer video “Say no! – sexual exploitation and loverboys” wishes to educate the public about this issue and sensitise them to it.
Find help fast
Victims, their loved ones, friends and other interested parties can find further information about how loverboys use love as a ploy and their methods, preventative and protective measures against human trafficking and sexual exploitation as well as help and support services for girls and women on the website of the Ministry for Regional Identity, Communities and Local Government, Building and Gender Equality.