Human traffickers use the ”Loverboy” method to recruit Moldovan women into prostitution

More and more human traffickers charm their victims with fake beautiful love stories in order to lure them to go abroad and exploit them. The recruitment method called ”Loverboy” is not new, but according to the International Center ”La Strada” its reactivation was lately observed in the Republic of Moldova.

As stated by ”La Strada”, during the last several months, many women victims of this complex criminal strategy or their relatives called the Anti-Trafficking Hotline at 0 800 77777 to ask for help.

”Recruiters are the first elements in this scheme. They make use of women’s emotional attachment, after having built it sometimes even during a few months. Usually the recruiter shows an impeccable behavior towards the victim, flattering her with false promises, love statements and presents”, explains Sanda Rosca, psychologist specialized in working with victims of human trafficking within ”La Strada”.

When a woman falls in love, she shows much more trust to the dearest person, and accepts to follow him even abroad, without asking too many questions. For the women who reached the destination, the reality turns out to be absolutely different from everything they previously imagined. They are forced into prostitution against their will.

”The most recent case identified features a young woman from the Republic of Moldova who went to Cyprus to meet the one who told her he loved her and would like to marry her. But when she reached the destination, she was forbidden to talk to people from outside. In rare situations, she could speak to a friend, but never alone and only in English, so that the recruiter can understand her. She could communicate with her mother only in written, and only after her concubine translated the messages she wanted to send, in order to make sure that she wouldn’t say anything alerting. Other cases are also very similar. Usually, women who get into sexual slavery are between 20 and 30 years old”, says Irina, consultant at the Anti-Trafficking Hotline.

Once a presumed case of trafficking is identified, the specialists from ”La Strada” involve all the state partners, civil society partners and all the resources available in order to save the victim. Upon her return home, the woman will be provided with free social, psychological and legal assistance, for less traumatizing recovering and reintegration processes.

For any other information related to safe travelling outside the Republic of Moldova, everybody is encouraged to call the free Hotline for safe migration at 0 800 77777 or to contact a consultant by accessing the page The calls from abroad can be made at the number +373 (22) 23 33 09. This service has been managed by the International Center „La Strada” since 2001.


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