The term ‘Ban Ying’ comes from the Thai language and means “house of women”. The association was founded in 1988 on the initiative of a group of social workers who worked in a Berlin information centre for sexually transmitted infections and AIDS. They realised that increasing numbers of Thai women who were working as prostitutes in Berlin were not doing so of their own accord, but were being forced to do so. Escape for these trafficked women was more or less impossible because there was no safe place for them to go where they would be out of reach of the pimps and traffickers.
This situation served as the impulse for the establishment for Ban Ying’s first project, the women’s shelter. The Ban Ying e.V.* coordination and counseling center opened in 1990.
Towards the end of the 1990s, in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin wall, there was a rapid increase in the number of women from Eastern European countries who had been affected by human trafficking seeking help from Ban Ying e.V..
Over the past few years we have seen growing numbers of women from the Latin American and African region and, more recently, a sharp rise in the numbers of women from South-Eastern European countries.
A change to the German penal code in 2005 redefined human trafficking as a crime against the personal freedom of an individual, rather than a crime against sexual self-determination. Following this reform, Ban Ying e.V. was one of the first projects to provide support for women who had been trafficked for the purpose of labour exploitation.
For some years now, our clients have included the domestic workers of diplomats who, due to their employer’s diplomatic immunity, are completely without rights in Germany.
As a result of these historical developments, Ban Ying has so far provided advice and counseling to women from 71 different countries.
*e.V. stands for eingetragener Verein and means “registered association”.