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Eine wartende weibliche Person an einem Laternenpfosten

Human Trafficking

The most common forms of human trafficking include sexual exploitation, exploitative working conditions, the exploitation of workers, the exploitation of humans as beggars, the exploitation of humans as organ donors and compelling humans to commit criminal offences. 

It is primarily girls and women who are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. For this reason, this form of exploitation is referred to as trafficking in women. Girls and women are frequently recruited for prostitution using the so-called loverboy method. 

Victims can come from abroad as well as from Germany. It is often the case that the victim’s difficult personal or financial situation is exploited in order to force them into the particular kind of work.

Victims of human trafficking are usually recruited with false promises about the nature of the work or the amount of money they will make, either through people who are believed to be trustworthy or through advertisements, agencies or the Internet. 

It is a criminal offence to compel someone to take up or continue prostitution by exploiting the difficult circumstances they find themselves in or the helplessness they face owing to their particular foreign background (Section 232 of the German Criminal Code). It is also a criminal offence to force someone into exploitative working conditions using these methods (Section 233 of the German Criminal Code).

Find help fast

Victims of human trafficking can find information in the event of acute threats, their rights and entitlements as well as help and support services on the following websites:

The North Rhine Westphalia Police - The Human Trafficking Situation

The Federal and State Commission for the Prevention of Crime

State funded support services
The State of North Rhine-Westphalia funds specialised advice centres for victims of human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Further information and a list of the eight specialist advice centres for victims can be found on the Ministry of Equality’s website.

Information and help services regarding the “loverboy method” are contained in the Ministry for Equality’s explainer video “Say no! – sexual exploitation and loverboys”