Administrative proceedings regarding the recognition of refugee status of a Ukrainian victim of human trafficking; extensive comments on trafficking in women as a form of non-state, gender-specific persecution; protection from deportation also for minor son.
In proceedings before the Administrative Court, the court ordered the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) to recognize the female plaintiff as a refugee and to decide in favour of a prohibition of deportation for her 10-year old son as well.
The female Ukrainian plaintiff had been lured to work in the Czech Republic under false pretences, where she was forced to work as a prostitute on the boarder to Germany. When she tried to escape and to go into hiding at her family’s, her family was threatened and her brother beaten up.
She travelled in 2004 with her then 10-year old son illegally to Germany and filed an application for asylum. The BAMF turned her application down.
In the action brought by her to the Administrative Court, the court held that the plaintiff was to be recognized as a refugee. Section 60 of the German Residence Act (AufenthG) lays down which persons are entitled to a prohibition of deportation. According to section 60, no one may be deported to a state in which their life or liberty is endangered on account of their membership in a certain social group. The court held that a persecution on account of membership in a certain social group can also be found pursuant to section 60 AufenthG if the danger to the person’s life, physical integrity, or liberty is linked solely to gender.
The plaintiff’s desperate situation - to either go back into prostitution in the Ukraine or to go into hiding with her son - was considered by the court to be gender-specific persecution. The court held that what was to be taken into account here was not only the biological meaning of gender, but also the social meaning of the gender as it related to women and men based on socially and culturally defined identities. The court held that trafficking in women in this sense as a form of sexual violence, exploitation, and forced prostitution is directly aimed at the gender status of a woman, her age, gender, social status, and sexual marketability.
The Plaintiff was being pursued by a large criminal organization. Neither the Ukrainian government nor international organizations were able to protect her.
The court held in favour of a prohibition of deportation also for the son of the plaintiff pursuant to section 60 (7) AufenthG as there was a danger that the human traffickers would use him to put his mother under pressure if they returned to the Ukraine.
Decision in full text: