Federal Court of Justice (BGH), Decision as of 3/26/2008
File number 2 StR 90/08

Key issues

Criminal proceedings regarding serious human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation; the mere act of "taking physical control of" already satisfies the elements of the offence of section 232 (4) no. 2 of the German Criminal Code (StGB) without the need for prostitution to have actually begun.


The accused was convicted by the court of first instance of, among other things, serious human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation combined with bodily harm and attempted coercion.

The appeal lodged against this was unsuccessful. The highest appellate court (BGH) held - without considering the matter in more detail - that the "taking of physical control of another person" for the purposes of inducing them to work as a prostitute does not require for section 232 (4) no. 2 StGB that the victim actually begins or resumes working as a prostitute. "Taking physical control of" means, pursuant to well-established precedent, that someone gains the physical control over another person. Serious human trafficking will therefore be found to exist as soon as the perpetrator gains control - by means of threats or violence - over a person with the intention of inducing that person to work as a prostitute.

Decision in full text:

BGH_26_03_2008 (PDF, 61 KB, not barrier-free, in German)

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