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LOVER BOY AND PROSTITUTION — SANDRA NORAK’TESTIMONY — adlaudatosi webinar 13 APRIL 2021 Demand As Root Cause For Human Trafficking – Sex Trafficking & Prostitution

LOVER BOY AND PROSTITUTION — SANDRA NORAK’TESTIMONY — adlaudatosi webinar 13 APRIL 2021 Demand As Root Cause For Human Trafficking – Sex Trafficking & Prostitution
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So I don’t like to call these broken souls prostitutes. They are no prostitutes from the heart! 

SANDRA NORAK: Okay, thank you for organ­is­ing this and for talk­ing about pros­ti­tu­tion and traf­fick­ing and solu­tions. I want to speak about, first a lit­tle bit about me, about the Lover Boy method, which part leg­is­la­tion plays, and also about the mech­a­nisms of traf­fick­ing, pros­ti­tu­tion, and about demand.

So first, a few facts about my sto­ry, I have been through. I became acquaint­ed with my traf­fick­er and pimp, who was about 35 years old, on the Inter­net when I was a minor. At the time, I had long con­tin­u­ing prob­lems with my men­tal­ly ill moth­er, a stay in the clin­ic due to anorex­ia, as well as self-harm behav­iour. And of course, he knew the cir­cum­stances and used my vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties. So when I came home from school, I sta­tioned myself imme­di­ate­ly at the com­put­er and spent a long time in dif­fer­ent chat rooms.

And we wrote more and more, then every day. And he wait­ed for me online and gave me the feel­ing to be there for me. I spoke with him more and more about my prob­lems and he showed sup­port and understanding.

And so it came to the first real meet­ing where he invit­ed me to eat. He was my first love. The first per­son that I had sex­u­al inter­course with. And up to this point, pros­ti­tu­tion was not men­tioned. Talk­ing about pros­ti­tu­tion began slow­ly, when he knew that I emo­tion­al­ly hang on him and he was the only per­son to whom I relat­ed. So at the week­end, I trav­elled by train to his city and after a while he took me to broth­els of some of his friends, who were broth­el own­ers. And after a while he want­ed that I pros­ti­tute myself. And when I refused, he began to explain, he had great debts and was stuck into dif­fi­cul­ties, and I’m the only per­son who can help him. So I had anx­i­ety of los­ing him, and that some­thing is hap­pen­ing to him. And so I began to pros­ti­tute myself.

I became a full-time pros­ti­tut­ed woman and broke off school because I could not lead this dou­ble life. So the strat­e­gy, which is about tar­get­ed search­ing, recruit­ing, and push­ing young women into pros­ti­tu­tion for the pur­pose to exploit them sex­u­al­ly by fak­ing or sim­u­lat­ing a love rela­tion­ship at the begin­ning falls under human traf­fick­ing and is called the Lover Boy method. This form of recruit­ing for human traf­fick­ing is get­ting more and more com­mon, because it is the safest way for the traf­fick­er to escape pros­e­cu­tion. He can hide behind the alleged vol­un­tari­ness of the young women that are under his con­trol. Lover Boy traf­fick­ers and Lover Boy pimps, they look for an easy prey. They use the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties of the young women, espe­cial­ly when you come from a bro­ken home, when you have already expe­ri­enced sex­u­al abuse, vio­lence, neglect in the past.

These are the gen­er­al pre­con­di­tions for entry into pros­ti­tu­tion. But it’s not lim­it­ed, that only vul­ner­a­ble young girls are traf­ficked. In Ger­many, there are also women who have been vic­tims of Lover Boy pimps, who come from fam­i­lies where there’s no evi­dence of abuse or vio­lence. But they met their Lover Boy pimp when they were very young. It was their first time being in love. They were like typ­i­cal ado­les­cents rebelling against their par­ents. This method is very com­mon when it comes to traf­fick­ing and pimping.

But how some­one is able to endure pros­ti­tu­tion, what it means endur­ing very inti­mate things, being in pros­ti­tu­tion and endur­ing count­less pen­e­tra­tions by strangers; one needs atti­tudes that triv­i­al­ize this vio­lence that it all was bear­able or not so bad at all. And how do you get such an atti­tude? If some­one is abused phys­i­cal­ly or psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly ear­ly in the child­hood, as it was with me, the affect­ed per­son is con­vinced by the idea that being mis­treat­ed is not so hard, or deserved, or nor­mal, because you don’t know how it is to be treat­ed well.

In psy­cho­log­i­cal trau­ma­tol­ogy, this is called the offend­er-influ­enced way of think­ing. It is kind of sur­vival strat­e­gy to stand vio­lence bet­ter. So if the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion can­not be endured or changed, affect­ed per­sons often take the perpetrator’s point of view because if they act like offend­ers want them to act, the chances of sur­vival are high­er. So for exam­ple, if I do exact­ly what they tell me, they will prob­a­bly let me alone and it will not become so bad. Or words like, “You are worth­less”, can turn into, “I am worth­less”, or “You will nev­er achieve it”, can turn into, “I will nev­er achieve it.” So this inter­nal­i­sa­tion and tak­ing over of the offender’s ideas due to self-pro­tec­tion, becomes man­i­fest until one is grown up and it deter­mines dai­ly life, not only in the form of a neg­a­tive self image, but also in the form of a lack of self-pro­tec­tion and self care. So some­one who had to learn endur­ing vio­lence ear­ly, as a sur­vival strat­e­gy often won’t lat­er be able to pro­tect against it. And for these per­sons there is a very high risk of being traf­ficked and exploited.

And when in addi­tion, sex­u­alised vio­lence in the form of pros­ti­tu­tion is not named as such in soci­ety, and in a State like in Ger­many, triv­i­alised as a ser­vice, those offend­er-influ­enced ways of think­ing will not be ter­mi­nat­ed, but con­firmed. So with the legal­i­ty of buy­ing sex, peo­ple, most­ly women in pros­ti­tu­tion, are taught that the vio­lence that they expe­ri­ence in pros­ti­tu­tion would not be real vio­lence because it is legal that they can be sold for sex­u­al objec­ti­fi­ca­tion and abuse. So the Gov­ern­ment sig­nalis­es with its lib­er­al leg­is­la­tion, pros­ti­tu­tion is not vio­lence, but a nor­mal job. And this point of view is tak­en over by many, many coun­selling organ­i­sa­tions too. And that is dan­ger­ous because it mis­leads a per­son to get into pros­ti­tu­tion with­out clar­i­fy­ing to them the immense amount of vio­lence that awaits them there.

So I give you an exam­ple of what I mean. When my traf­fick­er pushed me for the first time into a broth­el dur­ing my recruit­ment as a young adult, I had a very bad intu­ition and want­ed to escape. I was young, unsta­ble, vul­ner­a­ble, and didn’t know how to hold myself, and which kind of dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion I was. He led me towards pros­ti­tu­tion and coerced me and said I should not be embar­rassed. “It was all nor­mal”, he told me. “It’s nor­mal in Ger­many.” “It’s just a job”, and so on. And so I remem­ber the point of view of our Gov­ern­ment, which con­sid­ers pros­ti­tu­tion as a job, and that pimps, as well as broth­el own­ers appear on talk shows being called busi­ness­men instead of crim­i­nals. So I remem­ber that this milieu was main­ly described as not so bad at all. And exact­ly this image of nor­mal­i­ty in the pros­ti­tu­tion milieu is trans­mit­ted with Germany’s State legislation.

And so I could not recog­nise that I was on the way slid­ing into the mid­dle of a crim­i­nal milieu full of vio­lence. It was not named as a crime and won’t be named as one. So how­ev­er, our State has got a respon­si­bil­i­ty to be a role mod­el. Every State has that respon­si­bil­i­ty to be a role mod­el and provider of ori­en­ta­tion, espe­cial­ly for young and vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple. If our State had told me that, for exam­ple, with a pro­hi­bi­tion of buy­ing sex, or by talk­ing about the vio­lence in pros­ti­tu­tion, that pros­ti­tu­tion is vio­lence and a vio­la­tion of human dig­ni­ty, my traf­fick­er would have had it much hard­er to lead me in pros­ti­tu­tion because I would be warned. So how­ev­er, the sad truth is that our State believes that sex­u­al vio­lence against women is nor­mal because it’s lib­er­al leg­is­la­tion on pros­ti­tu­tion means noth­ing else.

That is what peo­ple are guid­ing them­selves with. That’s how chil­dren grow up in our coun­try, in Ger­many, believ­ing that it isn’t vio­lence, when women and young girls in pros­ti­tu­tion are pen­e­trat­ed dai­ly, some­times 10, 20 times a day, and are deprived of their dig­ni­ty and worth. But of course, it is violence!

So exit­ing and escap­ing after the expe­ri­ences you made in pros­ti­tu­tion, is very hard. A phys­i­cal exit from pros­ti­tu­tion, the bod­i­ly step into real life can often be man­aged, but the phys­i­cal exit does not auto­mat­i­cal­ly mean the psy­cho­log­i­cal exit. So being in pros­ti­tu­tion, you expe­ri­ence the deep­est abysses of our soci­ety, an immea­sur­able and unimag­in­able extent of vio­lence, humil­i­a­tion, lies and inhu­man­i­ty. One can flee from this life phys­i­cal­ly, but psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly, hang in the thick of mem­o­ries and pain. And often due to the expe­ri­ences you have made, there is a deep belief that you are worth­less, you are unable to achieve any­thing, and deserve noth­ing else.

So the phys­i­cal exit is often dif­fi­cult, but the psy­cho­log­i­cal exit is even more dif­fi­cult because it often takes years, or even decades, and it involves break­ing through pain and trauma.

It is the slow dis­tanc­ing from an ear­li­er life full of vio­lence. And this psy­cho­log­i­cal exit is dif­fi­cult but extreme­ly impor­tant. And it’s not about for­get­ting your expe­ri­ences, but it is about accept­ing the non-erasable past to inte­grate it into your life and to simul­ta­ne­ous­ly break free from this par­al­lel world of pros­ti­tu­tion and trafficking.

So to come to the end, I want to men­tion the last point, and it’s about also what we have talked about. It’s about demand.

To fight traf­fick­ing and exploita­tion, we need to reduce demand because demand is a breed­ing ground for traf­fick­ing. Where there is a high demand, it’s much more lucra­tive for traf­fick­ers. You can­not fight traf­fick­ing when you are pro­mot­ing demand on the oth­er side. And when you treat pros­ti­tu­tion as a job, as a ser­vice that can be bought, like you can buy a pack of cig­a­rettes, like it is in Ger­many, you are pro­mot­ing demand. In Ger­many, we have an esti­mat­ed num­ber of 1.2 mil­lion sex buy­ers, who use sex­u­al ser­vices each day. So you can imag­ine that traf­fick­ers in Ger­many are becom­ing rich. So Ger­many is unfor­tu­nate­ly a coun­try where pimps and traf­fick­ers are able to become rich with a very low risk of being pros­e­cut­ed. A very low risk, because they can hide very well behind legal structures.

So thou­sands of women in Ger­many are used and exploit­ed, but nobody is real­ly see­ing this because it is hid­den behind a legal sys­tem, behind a leg­is­la­tion, that calls all the women in pros­ti­tu­tion, auto­mat­i­cal­ly, pros­ti­tutes. But most of these, and we speak about 200,000 to 400,000 women in pros­ti­tu­tion in Ger­many … they are no pros­ti­tutes, they are traf­ficked, they are forced … they were abused as a child and nev­er got to know what it means to live a life with­out vio­lence, to live a life with dig­ni­ty, or they do not find the way out after their traf­fick­ing and exploita­tion sit­u­a­tion, as it was also the case with me.

So sta­tis­ti­cal­ly, there is a high prob­a­bil­i­ty to become a whole life pros­ti­tute after being exploit­ed and traf­ficked, not because you want­ed, but because you are broken.

And most of these so-called pros­ti­tutes are the chil­dren who were left behind when they were young, and now left behind a sec­ond time by soci­ety. So I don’t like to call these bro­ken souls pros­ti­tutes. They are no pros­ti­tutes from the heart.

After my traf­fick­ing and exploita­tion sit­u­a­tion, I became also such a free choice pros­ti­tute, but not because I was a pros­ti­tute from the heart. I became one because on the one hand, I don’t know how to exit this life after my exploita­tion. So I was high­ly trau­ma­tised because of what has happened.

And at the end, I lived in the broth­el where I was exploit­ed, had no flat, had bro­ken up with school, had almost no con­tacts to peo­ple out­side the red light. And on the oth­er hand, I had expe­ri­enced so much sex­u­al abuse and exploita­tion that I lost my worth, my iden­ti­ty, my per­son­al­i­ty, that I thought I don’t deserve help from peo­ple out­side the red light, and that I have to do the exit on my own no mat­ter how long it takes.

And when you start with noth­ing and when you have the feel­ing that the only thing you are worth is what your traf­fick­er has made out of you, a pros­ti­tute, it takes time. It takes time to find back to your­self. And hon­est­ly, a lot of women being traf­ficked and exploit­ed nev­er find back to them­selves because they had been bro­ken too much. So sta­tis­ti­cal­ly, there is a high prob­a­bil­i­ty to become a whole life pros­ti­tute after being trafficked.

So you have a “free choice pros­ti­tute”, but nobody is see­ing the sto­ries behind these “free choice pros­ti­tutes”. So it’s not because you want it, but because you are bro­ken. In this sit­u­a­tion, I even defend­ed my pros­ti­tu­tion out­ward­ly because I don’t want peo­ple to see how far I’m actu­al­ly down, how far I’m on the edge, and because it would hurt too much to say that it is vio­lence when you phys­i­cal­ly and, or psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly, see no way to escape this violence.

So I was nev­er a pros­ti­tute from the heart.

I grew up with the wish of becom­ing a sea biol­o­gist when I first saw the film Free Willy, when I was a child, and not of becom­ing some­one being pen­e­trat­ed one day after the oth­er. So in the mean­time, my dreams changed because of my traf­fick­ing and pros­ti­tu­tion expe­ri­ences. So after my exploita­tion, I catched up school edu­ca­tion, which I had bro­ken up before because of my traf­fick­er. I stud­ied law and I’m going to become a lawyer fight­ing against exploita­tion and for enlight­en­ment. This is what I am from the heart.

And oth­er women dream, for exam­ple, of being a police offi­cer, sci­en­tist, an artist, and so on. They dream about a lot, but not of being a prostitute.

So no mat­ter what kind of pros­ti­tu­tion leg­is­la­tion we pre­fer, and I pre­fer the so-called Swedish/Nordic Mod­el, and fight­ing for this to imple­ment in Ger­many with a lot of oth­er great peo­ple, nobody can tell me that only one child on this earth grows up with the wish of becom­ing a pros­ti­tute, with the wish of being pen­e­trat­ed hun­dreds, thou­sands of times by strangers. Chil­dren do not grow up with this wish.

So, of course, I can­not speak for every woman who is in pros­ti­tu­tion, but for the major­i­ty. And we do not have 200,000 so-called “pros­ti­tutes” in Germany!

Instead, what we do have in Ger­many for sure, are thou­sands of bro­ken chil­dren whose dreams were tak­en away from them, and who are locked now in the sys­tem of pros­ti­tu­tion. I was just one of these 200,000 to 400,000 who are just called pros­ti­tutes, and where the sto­ries behind are most­ly unknown.

So who­ev­er is lis­ten­ing here, please do not nor­malise or accept such a sys­tem, where you can find so many bro­ken lives and souls, but instead, fight­ing the sys­tem, and fight­ing the sys­tem means to fight against demand. Thank you.

 

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