TikTokers are explaining the ‘Loverboy’ sex-trafficking method Andrew Tate is accused of using to exploit women

Andrew Tate was arrested as part of a human trafficking investigation on December 29.Layah Heilpern/YouTube

  • Andrew Tate was arrested as part of a human-trafficking investigation in Romania.

  • Investigators said the operation employed the “loverboy method” to extract money from victims.

  • The news prompted a burst of interest in the technique, and a series of viral explainers on TikTok.

TikTokers are working to demystify the “loverboy method” after Romanian authorities accused Andrew Tate of using it to exploit women in a sex-trafficking scheme.

Romanian officials cited the method by name when laying out allegations against Tate, who was arrested in December.

It prompted a burst of interest in the term, particularly on TikTok where creators worked to explain how the method differs from stereotypes of human trafficking.

Among them was Victoria De Vall, who has 372,000 followers, and said she used to work at a sex-trafficking non-profit. She used a recent video to debunk some misconceptions.

“The majority of sex trafficking is simply not going to be someone snatching you up,” she said. “It’s going to be someone that you know is manipulating you.”

This is the crux of the loverboy method, De Vall said. In its typical form, it involves men dating a woman and playing the part of boyfriend to get her to fall in love with them.

Then, “once she is in love with them, they coerce her into sex trafficking so they can make money off her,” De Vall said.

Tate is accused of forcing women to make porn for his business

Tate, his brother Tristan Tate, and two women are accused of exploiting women to produce porn for their online business.

In a press release sent to Insider, the Romanian agency DIICOT alleged that Tate’s group misled women into thinking they wanted real relationships with them. One of the women was raped, the statement said.

Tate has been very open about his webcam business, claiming on the Fresh & Fit podcast last year that he was earning $600,000 a month from 75 female webcam models.

On Tate’s own website, which no longer exists but screenshots of which have been widely shared, Tate wrote that 50% of his employees were his girlfriend at one time and “none were in the adult entertainment industry before they met me.”

On the site, he explained a process that closely resembles the loverboy method.

“My job was to meet a girl, go on a few dates, sleep with her, test if she’s quality, get her to fall in love with me to where she’d do anything I say, and then get her on webcam so we could become rich together,” it reads.

It isn’t clear whether what Tate described relates directly to the case against him in Romania.

Most human trafficking is nothing like “Taken” or other movies

Another TikToker, Luna Voyd, who has 11,000 followers, said in a video that she hoped the Tate story would help people understand that human trafficking is “not just thinking it’s someone kidnapping you in a Target parking lot.”

It’s not “some ‘Taken’ scenario,” she said, referring to the Liam Neeson movie where the main character’s daughter is abducted. Rather, human traffickers tend to be people who build trust with their victims.

“Those types of guys usually get the girls to trust them, give over all their passports, everything like that because this is her boyfriend, she’s in love with this man even though to him it’s not that,” Voyd said.

“It’s most likely to be a partner, a family member, someone who has gotten close to you — not a random stranger.”

According to Europol, the EU’s policing agency, the loverboy technique is widely used to “recruit victims confronted with economic and social hardship.”

“The suspects target their victims’ vulnerabilities and seduce them with expensive gifts and promises of a better life abroad,” a post on its website reads. “This is how many women leave their families in search of love and new opportunities in other countries.”

The romance doesn’t last long, though, Europol said. Once these women are in the new country they are forced to earn money for their handler, and met with threats if they try and escape home.

Umar Zeb, a senior partner at the law firm JD Spicer Zeb Solicitors, told Insider that social media has played a huge part in enabling traffickers.

“Not only can victims be sourced more widely due to the reach, the methods of coercion have changed,” he said.

“What used to be a long-con, practiced over a lengthy time period, has now become a much quicker form of entrapment, as victims are threatened through blackmail, for example exposure of pornographic images, and violence.”

Tate and the others were initially held for 24 hours, which a Romanian court extended to 30 days.

Tate has not publicly responded to the allegations yet, other than a cryptic tweet casting the investigation as a conspiracy.

11 of Tate and his brother’s cars were seized as part of the investigation, Romanian officials told Insider on Wednesday.

Read the original article on Insider

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