Trafficking in Women

Foto: © Reden InternationalFoto: © Reden International

Trafficking in women is a severe human rights violation. Since its establishment TERRE DES FEMMES has been combating this kind of gender based violence and has been campaigning for the rights and the protection of this group of victims. There are different forms of trafficking in women. We are focusing on the issue of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Other forms of trafficking are trafficking into labour and into marriage.


What is trafficking into sexual exploitation?

Trafficking in women is a global and complex phenomenon and is often in conjunction with the migration of women. In Germany the majority of victims of trafficking into prostitution originates from countries, which face violent conflicts and are in circumstances of extreme poverty andsocial inequalities. Traffickers profit from the fragile social and economic situation of women and lure them under false pretences, such as false job advertisements, to Western Europe. The women leave their country in desperation and in the hope to escape from their emergency. After the arrival at the destination country they are forced into prostitution.

How many women are affected by human trafficking?

Due to the high number of unreported cases, it is difficult to estimate the dimension of human trafficking. The official data concerning to the extent of victims of trafficking differs substantially depending on a narrow or a broader definition of trafficking in human beings.For Germany the only official statistics being provided are the yearly report of Bundeslagebild Menschenhandel, published by the Federal Criminal Police Office. But this report only provides an overview of investigation procedures, which are completed. This kind of data collection does not give the full picture of the situation in Germany; it can be assumed that the number of unreported cases is much higher. According to estimates of the United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 2.4 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking. According to a report of UNODC (2014) the majority of trafficking victims are subjected to sexual exploitation (53 per cent) and 40 per cent of the victims detected between 2010 and 2012 were trafficked for forced labour.

Our Commitment

TERRE DES FEMMES engages in lobbying and advocacy promoting the rights of women who are victims of human trafficking. The focus of our work is on trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual exploitation.


TERRE DES FEMMES is a member of various German working groups against trafficking in women such as the ‘KOK’ - a German nationwide umbrella organisation of counselling centres and organisations combating trafficking in women and violence against women in the process of migration.

UN Resolution 1325

Within the framework of the UN Resolution 1325, TERRE DES FEMMES combats sexual violence in armed conflicts and supports an increase in women's active participation in peace processes. Armed conflicts often result in the collapse of constitutional systems, thereby allowing violence and the sexual exploitation of girls and women to evolve into everyday phenomena, thus adding to trafficking in women and forced prostitution.

TDF Working Group on Women Trafficking and Prostitution

A voluntary TERRE DES FEMMES working group, composed of women members, deals intensively with the subjects of trafficking in women and prostitution. The group meets twice a year to exchange information, to conduct associated activities, and to provide interested citizens in their hometowns and members of local networks and alliances with relevant information.

We demand:

  • a permanent residence status for Germany for all victims of human trafficking.
  • an access to a proper medical support and psycho-social support for all victims of human trafficking.
  • the legal allocation of fines and/or profits arising from criminal offences in order to compensate the victims of human trafficking.
  • an ensuring of a fair and prompt compensation of victims.
  • nationwide women’s shelters, intervention and counselling centres for victims of human trafficking.
  • an independent right of permanent residence for foreign spouses, starting from the time of marriage.
  • a free psycho-social assistance to all victims of severe gender-based violence during criminal proceedings.


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