ECPAT Germany was established as a campaign in 1991 and was officially registered as an organisation in 2001. ECPAT Germany is an alliance of 28 groups and institutions working on child rights issues and operates in the political, legal, economic and educational sectors, in cooperation with government and non-governmental organisations.
In 2013, the German Federal Criminal Police Office registered 4,317 websites containing child sexual abuse material.
Since 2005, the project “Kein Täter Werden” (Don’t Offend) offers free and confidential therapeutic treatment to those with a ‘sexual preference for children’. 251 people completed the program, which can be undertaken in 11 different centers in Germany.
Victims of trafficking for sexual purposes in Germany originate from within the country as well as Bulgaria and Romania. 67,000 unaccompanied minors arrived in Germany in 2015 alone; they are extremely vulnerable to trafficking for sexual purposes.
In Germany the age of sexual consent is 14 (§ 176 Abs. 1 StGB). Over 14 years a consent is impossible in cases of force or fee or the absence mental maturity. Under the age of sexual consent there is an exemption of punishment for cases when the difference of age and mental maturity is small.
Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch StGB), 2021
Active extraterritoriality is provided for SEC related offences including German nationals and habitual residents provided that the double criminality requirement is fulfilled (Section 7(2) of the Criminal Code). Passive extraterritoriality is provided for SEC related offences provided that the double criminality requirement is fulfilled (Section 7(1) of the Criminal Code). Double criminality is required for extraterritoriality provisions (except for trafficking or CSAM cases). Universal jurisdiction is recognized for some trafficking and CSAM offences under article 6 of the Criminal Code regardless of the nationality of the offender and the victim as without requiring double criminality.
SEC related offences can be extraditable if punished with at least one year of imprisonment under article 3 of the Act on International Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. Double criminality is required for extradition (except for extraditions within the EU).
SEC offences are referred to as extraditable under the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) framework within the EU without requiring double criminality if the act is punishable by a maximum period of at least three years of imprisonment in the requesting State.
German Criminal Code, Act on International Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters., 1998 (status as of 2021), 1994 (status as of 2021)
The German national legislation is still using the phrase child pornography and not child sexual abuse material. § 184b StGB is defining the understanding of “child pornography”. It is covering any type of material. With the exemption that it covers only material with children under 14 years. For children over 14 years the § 184c StGB applies, with the same understanding of sexual abuse material but with a lower penalty.
Criminal Code, 2021
There are mandatory legal provisions for criminal background checks for nationals and non-nationals, who start working in public youth welfare § 72a Abs. 1 S. 1 SGB VIII. A legal background check mut be undertaken also during the employment after 3-5 years.There is an obligation to guarantee that also independent youth welfare should ensure that persons who are convicted sex offenders are not allowed to work in their institution. This includes volunteers. But here is no legal provision to short-term offers of care and accommodation and commercial offers (such as child- and youth travel, animation programmes in hotels or childcare in fitness studios of warehouses).
Code of Social Law (SGB VIII) Book Eight Child and youth welfare (Sozialgesetzbuch (SGB VIII) Achtes Buch Kinder- und Jugendhilfe), 2022
Germany has ratified all relevant international and regional conventions.
Concluding observations UN CRC Committee, 2022
There are existing Child Advocacy Centres, organized and financed by the world childhood foundation, not by the state. There are 8 so called “Childhood Houses”. They are coordinating parallel judicial proceedings and child welfare investigations while ensuring support for the victim lasting throughout the process.
Besides that two more nationwide operating support structures should be mentioned: The Federal Coordination of Specialised Counselling against Sexualised Violence in Childhood and Adolescence is supported by the German government covering specialised services nationwide.
32 Child protection Centres are organized in the Federal Working Group Child Protection Centres. All centres also provide services in regard to sexual abuse of children.
BKSF – Federal Coordination of Specialized Counseling Against Sexualized Violence in Childhood and Adolescence, World Childhood Foundation, 2023
Police work is organized on country level. There are specialised police units on sexual abuse against children in each country. But there is only one police unit that includes sexual exploitation and trafficking in their mandate (in Berlin). There are also special forces involved only in child sexual abuse material on the internet in most of the countries. And the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) is investigating extra-territorial jurisdictions.
Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), 2023
The national primary legislation does not have any binding requirements for travel and tourism business. Section 2 § 3 of Tthe Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz (Act on due diligence along the supply chain) includes child protectionestablishes due diligence obligations to minimise or prevent human rights risks (which includes child labour, forced labour, trafficking, prostitution, and child sexual exploitation material according to Section 1 § 2)as a criteria. But since it is only mandatory for three four tourism companies the effect on the realization of children rights is low. Besides there are different working groups, campaigns and voluntary commitment of companies to improve child protection in travel and tourism.
Act on Corporate Due Diligence to Prevent Human Rights Violations in Supply Chains, ECPAT Analysis of the effects of the German Supply Chain Sourcing Obligations Act on the sexual exploitation of of minors in the travel and tourism industry, 2021
In Germany there is data published by the police on national level. The police data base provides information about completed criminal cases and it gives detailed information on offenders and victims, about their sex and it is split into persons over 18, under 18, 14 to 18 and 6 to 14. It also provides information on police reports of attempted crimes. There is no information on compensation.
Besides the police data base there is the “Statista Datenbank” which has more detailed information, but it is not accessible freely. National data about prosecuted cases and compensation are not for free but available through private organisations like beck-online or juris.de
German Police Crime Statistic, 2021