Why this story matters:
Last week, 56 people were arrested in Germany on charges of forced prostitution, pandering, and labor exploitation. This crime ring has smuggled 32 women and transsexual people from Thailand to Germany and forced them to work as prostitutes, keeping nearly all of their money. Most of those people knew they were going to be involved in prostitution (which is legal in Germany), but expected better treatment.
According to an expert interviewed by Deutsche Welle, police operations are not enough. The case of these 32 Thai people is not typical for Germany -- most women involved in prostitution in this country come from Eastern Europe. Cases of forced prostitution are very hard to prove since most victims of trafficking don't see their situation as a crime, and often are bonded to their trafficker by an intimate relationship.
In order to stop human trafficking in the red light districts of Europe, each country needs to develop safe ways for the women involved in prostitution to find their freedom.
Details from the story:
- The crime ring involved with the arrest was based in the town of Siegen in the South-West of Germany
- each year, about 500 cases of human trafficking are registered in Germany, but the police estimate that in reality, there are 2-3 times more unregistered victims of trafficking out there
- not all victims of trafficking are non-EU nationals, many are German women, forced into prostitution and exploited by their pimps
- in 2017, the new law tightened the regulations on prostitution in Germany, making clients and brothel owners responsible for the exploitation of trafficked persons