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Refugee women and sex trafficking in Germany

#Women are among the most vulnerable to various types of #abuse on the move, as well as during the asylum process. Many leave their homes to escape #sexualviolence or sex #trafficking only to be re-victimised upon their arrival to the destination country.

Back in 2016, a six-month #IRIN investigation into #Berlin shelters revealed that numerous #refugee women in #Germany suffered from sexual harassment, unwanted touching, kissing, and stalking while living in emergency shelters. The women experienced a lack of support, and reported living in fear of being assaulted and even ending up in sex trafficking rings.

Despite the subsequent efforts of institutions such as the State Office for Refugee Affairs Berlin (#LAF) to protect them by increased monitoring of shelters, women still remain frequent targets.

Not long after the war in #Ukraine caused more women to flee to Germany, the Berlin police have received reports of men preying on new-coming refugees. Women have been warned against offers of money or accommodation at the main train station, as well as fake ‘volunteers’ due to the risk of human trafficking.

The fear of trafficking is well founded, as many fall victims in this country specifically due to the fact that organized prostitution, such as brothels, is legal. According to Terre des Femmes’ Andrea Tivig, around 80 to 90% of women in prostitution in Germany are refugees, #asylumseekers and #migrants.

Brothels are subject to police checks, but traffickers still avoid detection. Additionally, as DW reports, the implementation of the 2017 Prostitute Protection Act has so far been unsuccessful and only increased practical risks for women.

According to Tivig, “Refugees and migrants made up the majority of trafficking victims (75 and 81%), with the largest refugee group being #Nigerians.”

Traffickers are also exploiting the volatility of the residence status during the asylum process to keep women in prostitution and prevent them from reaching out, continued Tivig.

If you or anyone you know is in need of help, Gewalt gegen Frauen (tel. 08000 116 016) offers free advice in 17 languages all across Germany.

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