Trafficking in Women and Prostitution

Foto: © Reden InternationalFoto: © Reden International

TERRE DES FEMMES has worked on the issue of trafficking in women since the beginning of the organisation. We aim to support vulnerable women, who are taken advantage of and exploited by criminals. Trafficking in women involves women that are either forced into prostitution or into labour exploitation. Trafficking in women is a form of gender-based violence and is a serious human rights violation. Victims are exploited by criminal networks due to their economic difficulties and the lack of alternative migration paths. However, trafficking in women not only involves migrant women but also German citizens: they represent about 20% of the victims in Germany.

At an international and national level there is no valid and reliable data regarding human trafficking. The only available data on human trafficking in Germany is provided by the German Federal Criminal Police (Bundeskriminalamt). These statistics only count successfully completed police proceedings, and just the cases where the prosecutor decides to prosecute for human trafficking. In 2017, the German federal criminal police office counted 489 victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation. 99% of those are girls and women. This is a small part of the actual number of victims in Germany, but the real number remains unknown.

TERRE DES FEMMES fights for a world without prostitution. Nobody knows how many women in Germany are involved in prostitution, there are simply no reliable estimates of the number of prostitutes. Yet, the high demand for commercial sex makes prostitution and the sex trade a big business in Germany. TERRE DES FEMMES works towards the introduction of the sex purchase ban in Germany. This legislative model criminalizes sex buyers instead of the prostitutes. This radical change in perspective is necessary for reducing prostitution and improving gender equality.

Our department “Trafficking in Women and Prostitution” raises public awareness of these issues and pushes for legislative changes through advocacy work. We cooperate with a large network of other women’s rights organizations in Germany, Europe and beyond. The goal is to emphasize both the human rights violations that happen and their negative impact on gender equality.

Do you need help? Please call the free anonymous helpline for women at 08000-116016 available 24/7.