North Rhine-Westphalia: Initiation of prostitution during Corona shifted to the Internet

Düsseldorf (dpa/lnw) - The initiation of prostitution has shifted to digital space during the corona pandemic.

North Rhine-Westphalia: Initiation of prostitution during Corona shifted to the Internet

Düsseldorf (dpa/lnw) - The initiation of prostitution has shifted to digital space during the corona pandemic. According to the current situation report by the NRW State Criminal Police Office in Düsseldorf on human trafficking and exploitation, this poses great challenges for prosecutors because it is more difficult to control there.

Sexual services are increasingly offered on relevant websites and the subsequent communication then takes place in messenger services. The ban on prostitution caused by the pandemic did not lead to a significant reduction in the number of cases of sexual exploitation in the year under review.

The total number of investigations into human trafficking and exploitation has even increased. In 2020, a total of 106 preliminary investigations were counted in this area, which represents an increase of more than ten percent compared to the previous year.

Most victims are between 18 and 24 years old. The youngest victim was 14 years old and the oldest 52 years old. A quarter of the victims, 33 people, were sexually exploited using the loverboy method. A love relationship is feigned in order to remove the victims from their social environment and force them into prostitution.

For the first time, twelve cases appeared in the situation report, behind which was not sexual exploitation, but begging and forced marriage. For example, a 43-year-old mother in France sold her 14-year-old daughter to a man in Germany who was willing to marry him for a considerable sum of money.

When the girl tried to flee, her mother and her "fiancé" violently prevented her from doing so. The dispute was observed by a passer-by who informed the police. The 14-year-old was freed and placed in a children's home.

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