Bericht der OSZE – Komplexe Täterbindungen im Bereich Menschenhandel verstehen

Es gibt einen sehr guten, kürzlich erschienenen, Report von der OSZE (Organisation für Sicherheit und Zusammenarbeit in Europa). Er handelt u.a. ebenfalls, passend zu meinem letzten Beitrag über Trauma Bonding, über komplexe Täterbindungen im Bereich Menschenhandel, die zu erkennen und zu durchdringen wichtig sind. Auf der einen Seite, um den Betroffenen da raus zu helfen, und auf der anderen Seite für eine effektive und erfolgreiche Strafverfolgung und Verurteilung.

Folgend Auszüge von diesem enorm wichtigen Bericht:

Gender and the victim/trafficker relationship

In THB cases, the relationship between the victim and the trafficker may be complex. It may involve trauma bonding, familial ties and romantic relationships, and also violence, fear and manipulation. Exploring the trafficking history and, in particular, the gender dynamics of the victim/trafficker relationship is essential for law enforcement to understand the strategies used by the trafficker to exert power and control over the victim, as well as to identify any impediments to the victim cooperating with law enforcement. This can help answer a common question that comes to mind when the criminal justice system faces a victim: “Why didn’t you just run away?” The UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons has underlined that the power imbalance used by traffickers to impose exploitative conditions “has a strong gender component, as women and girls are subject to intersecting discrimination as a consequence of patriarchal social norms.” Understanding the complexity and nature of victim–perpetrator relationships will also make it easier for law enforcement to comprehend a victim’s behaviour, which is sometimes aimed at protecting their trafficker at their own expense.

Although cases involving young male victims were brought up in the context of the Study, the majority of participants discussed gender aspects in the criminal justice process from the perspective of female victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. According to the participants, in many instances traffickers abuse the position of vulnerability of the victims, using various forms of deceit to achieve their final aim of exploitation. The survey participants also highlighted the main elements prevalent among the gendered means used to control victims (Table 2 – siehe den Screenshot „Table 2: Gendered means of control„).

The common denominator in the expert group discussions and interviews was the topic of betrayal experienced by victims. Betrayal can happen as a result of family members being involved in the recruitment or trafficking of a victim, as well as through a bond developing between the trafficker and the victim prior to exploitation. Both the human-induced character of the crime, as well as the element of betrayal have a direct effect on the willingness of victims to co-operate with authorities or accept assistance from others, since – based on their past experience – victims are less likely to trust other people.

There are various types of relationships between traffickers and victims, and they also differ in the multitude of trafficking contexts. The Study has identified four recurring themes that link the victim–perpetrator relationship with gender: family, romance, trauma bonding and fear.


Another relationship that is used both as a recruitment technique and a means of exploitation is romance. A Study participant in Germany mentioned that the role of relationships in trafficking are different depending on the gender of the trafficker. For example “in sex trafficking, men will use sexuality in some way when they try to gain female victims”, whereas “women [traffickers] […] have been identified as using more a kind of friendship bond”. The Study highlighted several stories of girls being in what they perceived as a romantic relationship while being exploited, making it more difficult for the victim to understand that they were in fact trafficked. For example, in the United States v. Yarbrough et al. case, while the trafficker repeatedly used false promises of romantic relationships and family to target and lure victims as young as 15 years old into trafficking, one victim testified that she and other victims were “in love” with the trafficker. Victims who have a psychological bond to their traffickers through intimate relationships might have difficulties testifying in court because of that emotional bond. A police officer working with trafficking cases in the United States noted that the “boyfriend pimps” can be very successful in keeping a victim under their control during exploitation, but also in protecting the trafficker should the case be investigated by law enforcement.

Some countries have developed specific strategies to tackle this phenomenon. For example, the Netherlands has allocated resources to improve the fight against “lover boy” recruitment techniques and increased co-operation between care organizations, the police and justice authorities. Moreover, due to the increased use of the internet and social media, the “lover boy” method has evolved, therefore requiring the introduction of new measures to improve investigation and prosecution…

Trauma bonding

Family-like relationships also develop in non-family settings. Such bonds are often used to keep individuals in exploitation. Trauma bonding is a psychological response to abuse, entailing an unhealthy bond between perpetrator and victim. One form of trauma bonding is the “Stockholm Syndrome”, which occurs when a trafficker, male or female, uses repeated traumatic events and chronic abuse based on both rewards and punishments to foster a powerful emotional dependence and attachment of the victim to the trafficker. This type of relationship creates confusion and a false sense of relationship, resulting in the victim developing gratefulness, trust and loyalty to the trafficker, as well as losing a sense of self. In such cases, traffickers may take on a role of protector or caretaker to maintain control of the victim, who views them as a spousal or parental figure. Some survivors of trafficking interviewed for this Study shared recollections of bonding and family-like relationships within the collectives where they were held and exploited.

Such trauma bonds are used to create an environment in which the victims are somehow rewarded after their abuse, thus encouraging them to stay by establishing an impression of family and care. A Study participant also shared that motherly attitudes of female traffickers are used as a means to control victims and as a manipulation technique. “South-East Asian brothel owners are called mum by the victims and spend holidays together. [They] have a pretend family dynamic going on.” This motherly role is often facilitated by other vulnerability factors, such as the victims not speaking the local language, not being familiar with the local culture, and not knowing their rights.

Although trauma bonding can affect both male and female victims, research has shown differences in the impact of trauma on male and female brains, thereby suggesting the need for gender-specific trauma analysis and intervention. Being aware of these relationships and the nature of trauma bonding can facilitate both the identification of victims, as well as the prosecution of the traffickers...“

Zum Weiterlesen geht es hier zum ganzen Bericht (die von mir verwendeten Ausschnitte stammen aus den Seiten 40 ff.):

Applying Gender-Sensitive Approaches in Combating Trafficking in Human Beings

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