According to the National Rapporteur, approximately 1,320 female minors are reported to be victims of loverboys every year. Loverboys are men who seduce and charm very young, vulnerable girls in order to force them in prostitution. Only 1 out of 10 victims is identified and rescued (NOS, October 18, 2017). Of the 592 victims identified between 2010 and 2014, 358 were aged 16 or younger, with the youngest victim being as young as 11 years-old (Nationaal Rapporteur, 2016).

According to observers, this phenomenon is evolving towards heightened violence and criminality… It is no longer a question of seduction and love. Loverboys are looking for quick money and power above all else. They are true criminals who “handle” many victims at the same time. They often belong to networks that also deal with arms sales or drug trafficking (AD, May 20, 2018). The connections with their victims are made via social media and the seduction phase is brief. The first sexual relations are filmed and the loverboys force their victims into prostitution by threatening to put the videos online or by sending them to their families.

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