The unpredictable loverboy scam

Lena (name changed), a very bright, loving and pretty lady, is sharing her story today, which will surely get under your skin. As a child, she already experienced verbal and emotional abuse.

Hoping for a better future, she fell into the hands of a so-called loverboy. She recounts how she survived the nightmare of sexual exploitation and how she lives today.


Wherever family happiness should take place, Lena found truly little of it. As a young girl, her mother passed her on into her grandparents’ care, where she seemingly found a home. The strict, quite rough grandfather wanted her to have an authoritarian Prussian upbringing. When Lena hit puberty, things got awfully bad. The grandfather’s control increased extremely. During this time, he kept picking up the girl from school, making her anxious and inept with his educational manner. He threatened to give her back to the orphanage if she was not willing to work. The then 12-year-old girl could no longer withstand this psychological pressure and decided to kill herself. At the same time, a classmate in her class tried to kill herself with rat poison but did not manage. So, Lena, the good student that she was, was also afraid that her suicide attempt might not succeed. Shortly afterwards, her grandpa died and, for the first time in her life, Lena finally felt free. She became a hippie and rebelled against the society of that time.


Many paths led her to search for the supernatural. It was clear to her that God existed, but he was far away. She met her then husband in a park and married him soon after. After the wedding, more and more people were coming to their shared living space to live with them. The only one who made money was Lena’s husband. In the end, she was the one that got stuck with caring for their shared household.

About four months later, an unknown charming man came to this commune. At that time, the police were looking for him, but nobody knew that. Lena felt drawn to him. She describes him as extremely exciting and adventurous – like James Bond. He was five years older than her and it seemed to her as if he could protect her. He knew exactly how to wrap her around his little finger. Lena fell more and more in love with this strange man with whom she was soon going to go through hell.

When she was frustrated, he often said that she had married the wrong man and that she should have married him. The loverboy helped her with her household chores such as cooking and cleaning and thereby won more and more of the heart of this inexperienced girl. These are typical deceptions of loverboys.


The loverboy scam is all about creating emotional dependencies and to thereby fabricate extremely unhealthy bonds between themselves and the women. This very common method has long been known. These men proceed very strategically and build up a very intimate relationship with the women over weeks and months.

This creates a strong bond between offender and victim. The perpetrators take advantage of this emotional dependency and force the women into prostitution. The traffickers often fake financial emergencies and ask the women to have sex with other men or so-called friends for money. The victims are often threatened mentally and physically. Unfortunately, the victims have hardly any social contacts left after that and they then lose the strength to defend themselves. That makes it even harder for them to get help. But they also often stay with the loverboy out of love.  


He asked her if she wanted to join him and she did. He told her that he and his friend robbed an illegal casino, and that the mafia was after him. This story and others were of course all lies, but he told it so convincingly that she believed every word he said. When he arrived in Morocco, he sold his weapon and the buyer wanted to buy Lena as well. By not selling her, he became a hero for her who seemingly genuinely loved her.

After they ran out of money, he gave her the choice of going back home and told her about another way of making money: selling her body for money. He also said she did not have to do that, but there were men out there who would give her money for sex and that she had to make a quick decision. She said yes to that as she saw no way out and could not imagine a life without him.


Lena felt more and more used, despised and abused. Her supposed boyfriend was lying in the bathtub while Lena had to serve men in the other room. He taught her what to stop doing and what the johns would definitely like. After all the madness, he always took all the money from her. He only gave her enough to buy coffee. The emotional dependency caused Lena to feel unable to leave him.

Two years later Lena’s grandmother came to visit. She recognised what was going on and reported it to the authorities upon her return home. The complaint revoked the loverboy’s parole and from that moment onwards, he was searched for worldwide. They then fled to Marseille, but there Lena was in even greater danger. Lena tried to work in a bar in France, but she earned so little money that her pimp forced her to work the streets.


One evening, when she still had not earned any money, she did not dare go home.

Finally, a man came up to her, whom she thought a bit suspicious at first, but she accompanied him to the hotel anyway. When she was about to say goodbye to her client, he suddenly pulled out a folding knife. He stabbed her countless times. Her loud screams alarmed the hotel owner and her dog.

When the hotel owner got to the room, the perpetrator stabbed her too and escaped. He was caught two months later. On that fateful evening, the medical staff in the hospital performed emergency operations.


After that horrendous incident, something broke inside Lena. When she run out of clothes in the hospital, she called her pimp to ask him to bring her new clothes. As he was too much of a coward to come to the hospital himself, he sent someone else. Finally, after everything that happened, Lena left him. She had started to work in a bar in which the owner always put some of the money she earned aside, and so she eventually managed to travel back to her home country.

She found herself a job which provided her with accommodation and board. Although she was physically free, she was still mentally trapped by the loverboy scam. For years afterwards, she knew that she suffered from Stockholm syndrome. But she was determined to not give up. Her faith in God helped her to became free and whole again without any therapy. Today, Lena supports women who are also affected by human trafficking. She speaks several languages and carries on with her work towards a more just society. We thank her from the bottom of our hearts for the courageous interview.

Translated by Sophie Kitchen