Main Menu
Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                         

Federal Republic of Germany

The German economy - the fifth largest economy in the world in PPP terms and Europe's largest - began to contract in the second quarter of 2008 as the strong euro, high oil prices, tighter credit markets, and slowing growth abroad took their toll on Germany's export-dependent economy.

Germany's aging population, combined with high chronic unemployment, has pushed social security outlays to a level exceeding contributions,

The modernization and integration of the eastern German economy - where unemployment still exceeds 30% in some municipalities - continues to be a costly long-term process, with annual transfers from west to east amounting to roughly $80 billion.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Germany

Germany is a transit and destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Victims were trafficked to Germany from other parts of Europe, Africa (primarily Nigeria), Asia, and the Western Hemisphere. Approximately one-quarter of sex trafficking victims were German nationals trafficked within the country.

Twelve percent of trafficking victims were younger than 18 years old. The majority of identified sex trafficking victims were exploited in bars and brothels. Reported incidents of forced labor occurred mainly in restaurants, catering, and the domestic work and agriculture sectors.   - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009  Check out ta later country report here or a full TIP Report here



CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Germany.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

International Organization for Migration
3 027 87 780
Country code: 49-



Exposed: the myth of the World Cup ‘sex slaves’

Bruno Waterfield, Spiked, 14 February 2007

[accessed 6 February 2011]

[accessed 4 February 2019]

Last summer, lurid headlines claimed that 40,000 women would be smuggled by sex slavers into Germany to be prostituted to World Cup football fans. The truth is very different indeed. Newly unrestricted European Union documents reveal that the German police uncovered just five cases of ‘human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation’ related to the international football tournament.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Germany slow to tackle human trafficking, rights evaluators find

Deutsche Welle DW-WORLD.DE, 20 June 2019


[accessed 21 June 2019]

GRETA, a 16-member team, said the 671 trafficking victims identified in 2017 by Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) "do not reflect the real scale of the phenomenon of trafficking in human beings (THB) in Germany."

Of 513 child victims identified over that period all but two were sexually exploited, the GRETA team said, adding that trafficked persons identified came predominantly from Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Nigeria.

"Young girls and women, in particular, are groomed through online chat rooms and fall prey to so-called "loverboys" who manipulate and force them into prostitution," the GRETA report said.

Germany sex trafficking: Thai forced prostitution trial begins

BBC, 21 May 2019

[accessed 21 May 2019]

Five people have gone on trial in Germany for allegedly trafficking up to 200 Thai women and forcing them to work in a nationwide network of brothels.

The victims, several of whom are transgender, allegedly had passports confiscated and salaries withheld.

The victims were smuggled into the country on fake tourist visas and initially forced to work in three brothels in the western city of Siegen before being moved elsewhere, it is alleged.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Germany

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 7 June 2021]


In March media outlets released findings from a detailed investigation regarding migrant workers in the country who were lured under false pretenses and forced to work in squalid conditions with barely any pay. One media outlet reported that workers “described a sophisticated operation which kept tight control over their livelihoods. The men picked them up when they arrived, ran their accommodations, set rules for their workdays, and … decided when and how they would be paid.” Further, the workers “described deductions for everything from up-front ‘bureaucratic costs’ to monthly rent to gasoline for the car they were driven to work in, even the special safety boots they had to wear.”

There were reports of forced labor involving adults, mainly in the construction and food service industries. There were also reported cases in domestic households and industrial plants.


The government effectively enforced the applicable laws, and penalties were commensurate with those of other serious crimes. Isolated cases of child labor occurred in small, family-owned businesses, such as cafes, restaurants, family farms, and grocery stores. Inspections by the regional inspection agencies and the resources and remediation available to them were adequate to ensure broad compliance.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 27 April 2020]


According to the US State Department’s 2019 Trafficking in Persons report, migrants from Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia are targeted for sex trafficking and forced labor. Asylum seekers, especially unaccompanied minors, are also particularly vulnerable to exploitation.

Brides for sale: European women lured for sham marriages

Sylvia Hui And Karel Janicek, Associated Press AP, 25 May 2015

[accessed 24 January 2016]

[accessed 27 April 2020]

Most brides get paid-for trips to Britain, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands, and some don't fully realize what they've gotten themselves into until they arrive. Women have been held captive until their marriage papers are signed, abused by their "husband" and his friends, used for sex and drug trafficking or even made to marry more than once, according to European authorities and charities.

"Depending on the case, a woman can be sold for thousands of euros," said Angelika Molnar, an anti-trafficking specialist at Europol. "I can tell you it is lucrative."

Finding the ‘human’ in human trafficking

Anna Patton,, 03/07/08

[accessed 6 February 2011]

[accessed 4 February 2019]

"If someone done for drugs trafficking can get a more severe punishment than someone who traffics humans, there must be something wrong with this society." Sadly, this is often the reality, explains Barbara Eritt, since cases against human trafficking often end up in probation or acquittal due to insufficient evidence

Access to women has become much more difficult, even though prostitution has been legal in Germany since 2002. Brothels are increasingly being replaced by apartments or hotels, and women cannot leave, except when they are driven to their clients’ homes or hotel rooms. Going to the police can be extremely difficult.  Even if escape is possible, the women may be subject to threats or intimidation; their captors might know where the women’s families live, for instance, and use this against them. Added to this are the practical difficulties of being in an unfamiliar country where one doesn’t speak the language. As Eritt explains, many prefer to hope that once they have paid off their debts, they’ll be free to go.

Expert: Germany Can Do More For Victims of Human Trafficking

Emma Wynne interviewed Katrin Adams, Deutsche Welle DW-WORLD.DE, 23.07.2007,2144,2702064,00.html

[accessed 6 February 2011]

WHAT SORT OF CHANGES WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE GOVERNMENT IMPLEMENT TO PROTECT WOMEN WHO HAVE BEEN TRAFFICKED TO GERMANY? - What we would like to see is women who have been trafficked become entitled to permanent residency in Germany. At the moment the legal conditions are quite strict when it comes to getting residency. Secondly, coverage of basic needs including medical treatment and psychological help is often not provided.

We would like them to have a legal right to this basic coverage. Another important point is access to further education, especially language courses, so that women who decide to stay here once they have been released have an opportunity to build a normal life. We are lobbying too for access to the labor market.

Falling Short of the Mark: An International Study on the Treatment of Human Trafficking Victims [PDF]

The Future Group, March 2006

[accessed 6 February 2011]

[accessed 4 February 2019]

GERMANY - Germany is generally complying with international standards under the Trafficking Protocol for the protection of victims of human trafficking, and it is a signatory to the European Trafficking Convention. In addition to providing victims with a .reflection period. and the possibility of temporary residency, a network of government funded recovery centres has been implemented, together with provisions to address the unique needs of trafficking victims during investigations. However, Germany has yet to ratify the Trafficking Protocol and there are serious concerns that its recent legalization of prostitution will exacerbate the plight of victims of human trafficking

RESIDENCE - Amendments to Germany.s immigration and victims. rights legislation in 2004 grants a four-week .reflection period. for victims of human trafficking, after which those who agree to testify against their traffickers may obtain a temporary residence permit.

New study shames human traffickers

Patrick Mathangani, The Standard, May 11, 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 5 September 2011]

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) says Kenyans were also trafficked to Germany, Italy and South Africa for domestic labour and prostitution.

Its report, ‘Trafficking in Persons — The Eastern Africa Situation’, notes that women and children were favourite targets for well-organised trafficking rings, which operate freely for lack of solid laws against the vice.

Romanian Police Break Up Human Trafficking Ring, Bucharest, March 28, 2007

[accessed 6 February 2011]

[accessed 29 January 2018]

Romanian authorities have dismantled a human trafficking ring that transported women to Germany and sold them to Turkish citizens for about 5,000 euros ($6,700) each, border police said on Wednesday.

Police said the six-person gang recruited women in bars in villages in west Romania by promising them well-paid jobs abroad. They took them out of the country legally and sold them to Turks in the German towns of Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg.

Human trafficking a Games pitfall, researcher warns

D.E. Penner, The Vancouver Sun, November 2, 2007

[accessed 6 February 2011]

In its report, the Future Group said German authorities employed a coordinated effort to combat human trafficking related to an increased demand for prostitution during the 2006 World Cup of soccer. It involved public education, cooperation with social agencies and tight border controls. In the end, while officials did see an increase in prostitution, they did not detect a rise in trafficking.

However, in Greece, in 2004 -- the same year the country hosted the summer Olympics -- the country did not adopt measures that were as strong and a 95-per-cent increase in human-trafficking cases was recorded.

No rise in human trafficking in Germany due to World Cup, July 15, 2006 -- Source: Associated Press. "Report: No rise in human trafficking in Germany due to World Cup."

[accessed 6 February 2011]

Researchers say German authorities boosted raids on sex shops and brothels ahead of the World Cup. The European Union, the U-S and the Vatican had pressured Germany to act.

IOM Battles Human Trafficking During World Cup

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty RFE/RL, Prague, June 15, 2006

[accessed 6 February 2011]

To warn about the risk of human trafficking and forced prostitution during the World Cup in Germany, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched a joint awareness campaign with the MTV-Europe music channel and the Swedish government. IOM spokesman Jean Philippe Chauzy says the campaign’s focal point is a public-service announcement (PSA), which directs viewers to a website where they can obtain information for anonymously reporting to the German authorities any cases of trafficking and forced prostitution they may encounter.

Europe-Wide Human-Trafficking Ring Cracked

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty RFE/RL, May 29, 2006 -- Sources: AP, Reuters

[accessed 6 February 2011]

Authorities across Europe say they have arrested 41 Bulgarians in recent days after Italian police uncovered a trafficking network that exploited hundreds of children.  The arrests were in northern Italy, Bulgaria, Germany, and Austria. Italian police say another 75 people have been placed under investigation. Charges against the suspects include enslavement, human trafficking, and drug smuggling.

Battling Human Trafficking in Germany

Spiegel Online International, 02/22/2005,1518,343160,00.html

[accessed 6 February 2011]

With German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on the hot seat for allegedly ignoring gaping holes in Germany's visa distribution policies, a major trial against a huge forced prostitution ring opens in eastern Germany.

Germans Bust Sex Smuggling Ring

Agence France-Presse AFP (dre), 18.02.2005,,1493904,00.html

[accessed 6 February 2011]

German police smashed a major international human trafficking ring allegedly dealing in drugs, prostitution, extortion and money laundering.  Wrapping up a nearly five-year probe, investigators captured 21 suspects believed to be involved in a network smuggling women coerced into the sex trade into Germany and managing an underworld empire.

Woman judge 'ran sex ring that killed boy aged five'

Hannah Cleaver in Berlin, The Telegraph, 01 Mar 2003

[accessed 6 February 2011]

The abuse took place in the back room of a pub run by the former judge, named only as Christa W. The bar was a well-known meeting place for drug dealers and prostitutes. Some press reports suggest that Christa W took money from customers for access to the children.

He was removed from her care after complaining that she, her partner and his own mother and her boyfriend sexually abused him. It is thought that Pascal, whose home was 100 yards from the pub, was beaten while being abused, to keep him quiet.  But, say police, he was hit so hard that he died. The abusers panicked, put his body in a car, drove across the border and buried it.

Wikipedia: Prostitution in Germany – Human Trafficking

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[accessed 6 February 2011]

The trafficking in women from Eastern Europe is often organized by gangs from that same region. (The BKA, the German equivalent to the FBI, reported in 2003 that 60% of the suspects in trafficking cases were foreigners, with another 8% being foreign born Germans. Most of the women know from the start that they are going to work in prostitution even though they often don't know about the working conditions; some others hope for a job as waitress or au-pair; some are simply abducted. Once in Germany, their passports are taken away and they are informed that they now have to work off the cost of the trip. Sometimes they are sold to pimps or bar owners, who then make them work off the purchase price. They work in bars, apartments or as escorts and have to hand over the better part of their earnings. Some women reconcile themselves with this situation, as they still make much more than they could at home; others rebel and are threatened or abused. They are often told that the police have been paid off and will not help them, which is false. They are also threatened with harm to their families at home.

Helping Victims of Human Trafficking

Iris Ollech / DW staff (sms), Deutsche Welle DW-WORLD.DE, 23.09.2004,1564,1335876,00.html

[accessed 6 February 2011]

Dreams of a better life often end in a brothel for the victims of human trafficking, with the people smugglers and slave traders who bring them there making a lucrative living from their misery.

Women like Oxana (name changed), whose boss in the Ukraine told her he organized a job for her in a Spanish bakery, and that a friend of his in Germany would help her get a plane ticket.  EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT AWAY FROM HOME - But once in a foreign environment, the situation changes.

Human Trafficking: The Forced Labour Dimensions [PDF]

Roger Plant, Head, Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour, International Labour Office, Presentation to Sixth Meeting of the Stability Pact Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings, Belgrade, 23 March 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 5 September 2011]

[page 3] We are also completing a report on this issue in Germany, based on extensive interviews with victims, and also with a range of law enforcement authorities and other experts. Once again our researcher has come out with a far higher figure for forced labour victims than we would have expected beforehand, mainly because of the extended interpretation given to forced labour practices. For example only 2.5% per cent of an estimated one million migrant workers (85% of these women) have experienced the use of open violence in order to enforce the acceptance of unfavourable conditions of work and pay. This is primarily the case of women in forced prostitution. But far higher numbers are seen to have submitted to sub-standards conditions of work and pay, because of the threat of arbitrary dismissal, reporting to the police, or some form of intimidation against workers and their families.

Sex slaves often come from Russia, go to Germany - UN

Louis Charbonneau, Reuters, Vienna, May 13, 2003

[accessed 6 February 2011]

Russia is where people forced to become sex workers most commonly come from and Germany the place they most often end up working, the United Nations said Tuesday after studying thousands of cases of human trafficking.

Trafficking in unaccompanied minors for sexual  exploitation in the European Union [PDF]

International Organization for Migration IOM, December 2002

[accessed 29 January 2018]

[accessed 4 February 2019]



In Germany, children are trafficked almost exclusively for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Although there are suspicions about trafficking for economic exploitation (market stalls, fastfood, etc.), there is no evidence to support these allegations. In Italy, minors trafficked for economic exploitation are found mainly in the informal sector and on the black labour market, performing a variety of activities such as street peddling and begging. This is, for example, the case in France with young Romanians who are recruited to steal from city parking meters and young Asians (mainly Chinese) working in illicit clothing sweat shops.

Stealing and begging are the two main activities in which criminal networks are known to be exploiting minors. In Germany, for instance, police work has dismantled an organised ring of traffickers in Romanian minors. This action was taken following a sharp observed increase in the number of offences committed by Romanian minors in several cities in Germany. Most of the children involved came from poor areas in north-eastern Romania and had been handed over by their families to unscrupulous traffickers. Some of them were smuggled in from Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

It is reported that nearly 250 children and adolescents were trafficked for economic exploitation from Romania to Germany in 1998 alone.

Trafficking in unaccompanied minors for sexual  exploitation in the European Union [PDF]

International Organization for Migration IOM, May 2001

[accessed 6 February 2011]

[page 97] TRAFFICKING IN CHILDREN AND MINORS - The trafficking of UAMs with the intention of exploitation or abuse has been an issue in Germany but only sporadically during the last few years and the authors of this report believe, it is still widely considered to be of minor importance. The first signs of an increase in the level of trafficking of minors, mainly of very young children and infants from Asia or Africa to Germany, appeared as early as the 1980s with illegal adoptions. The opening of frontiers between the East and West, the breakdown of political, social and economic systems and the resultant social conflicts, has led to initial cases of trafficking in minors from Eastern Europe in addition to the trafficking in adult human beings (and in particular women). There are alarming incidents of such trafficking: the smuggling of young Eastern European girls to German brothels through prostitution rings, the exploitation of Romanian children as thieves in German cities, the exploitation of children of different nationalities as drug couriers, and especially of African girls as prostitutes. As yet however, no detailed analysis of all aspects of the phenomenon exists.


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 9 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The country was both a destination and transit country for trafficked persons. The BKA reported in their annual report on trafficking in persons that the numbers of known and registered victims in 2003 was 1,235, and the percentage of registered victims under age 18 continued to be in the 5 percent range. Of the registered victims, 80 percent came from Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union, primarily Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Lithuania, Slovakia, Latvia, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic. Non‑European victims came mostly from Africa and Asia. The BKA reported that most trafficking victims were women and girls between the ages of 16 and 25 who were forced to work as prostitutes.

Traffickers used a range of intimidation techniques to ensure the compliance of victims, including threats to "sell" the victim, threats of deportation, misrepresentation of victims' legal rights and status, physical violence, and withholding travel and identification documents.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery - Germany",, [accessed <date>]