A strange name for a brutal trade.
Loverboys are traffickers and procurers (often teenagers themselves) who operate via social media, leading unsuspecting minors to believe they are in love with them. Most cases occur in chat rooms and on social media chat rooms. In the beginning victims receive a lot of attention and gifts and are thereby lured into love. The Loverboy seeks to systematically create a relationship of dependency and purposefully tries to alienate his victim from their family and friends. As soon as such a relationship has been established, he takes further steps to lead his victim into prostitution, shoots sex films and lures the victim into committing crimes. His primary goal is to earn a fortune with the minors. Victims are typically between 12 and 18 years of age. Underage Swiss girls and boys are affected too.
Nina* is 14 years old and has transferred to a new school. She has some troubles with her parents and spends increasing amounts of time in online chat rooms. That is where she gets to know Luca*, who appears to be her knight in shining armor. Nina falls head over heels for Luca. She starts an intense relationship with Luca and spends all her time with him. A few weeks later Luca sells her to a client in a hotel room for the first time . Nina has fallen into a trap, that she can hardly escape.
Nina’s parents call the hotline and are connected with the justice and information center for young people.
*Names have been altered
How can I identify a victim?
The following signs might indicate, that a person is under the influence of a Loverboy. Many of the victims involved in the above scenarios can, however, appear to be completely “normal” teenagers. The situations do not necessarily have to be interpreted in relation to Loverboys. A lot of minors show similar activity when making new “friends”.
- Extensive chatting online and frequent clubbing
- A teenager suddenly owns a lot of money and expensive goods
- Many absences at school, incongruent justifications, lower marks
- A change in behavior, withdrawal from parents and friends
- Chang of look or style: more provocative and sexy
- A low self-esteem, identity crisis
- Pain in the abdominal region, bleeding, psychosomatic pain
- Depression, self harm
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