Pop quiz: Is “My Dangerous Loverboy” a.) the most recent book in the Twilight series, b.) the horse that won the Kentucky Derby in 2007, or c.) the name of a new campaign which seeks to warn teen girls about the dangers of boyfriend-turned-pimps, also known as “loverboys.” If you picked c.), then either you’ve got it figured out or you read the title of this post. Either way, bravo. But “My Dangerous Loverboy” goes beyond those drugs-are-bad, Katie-eat-something awareness campaigns of yesterday. It uses a spicy combination of pop music, interactive web portals, and video contact to teach teen girls that a true Prince Charming will never try and turn them into a prostitute.
What is a loverboy? The term was originally coined in the Netherlands, to refer to young pimps who lured teen girls into the commercial sex industry by first pretending to be their boyfriends. However, a “loverboy,” at least in abolitionist lingo, has come to mean any guy who puts up the front of a relationship with a girl to lure her into prostitution. Loverboys target girls who will be receptive to their advances — who have low self-esteem, unstable home lives, lack of parental support, etc. At first, the loverboy is all gifts and romance. He bombards the girls with “I love yous” and gifts and meals out. And once she has totally fallen for him, he begins to ask for something in return. Some loverboys reach a point where they become physically abusive, and control the girl and force her into the sex industry physically. But many simply frame the act of prostitution as part of their love, with lines like “I’ve done so much for you, can’t you do this for me?” or “We’ve run out of money and I need you to do this for us.” Loverboys may promise their victims a life of luxury, marriage, children, and happiness, once the “temporary” need for prostitution is over. But those promises are never fulfilled.
Here’s the music video for “My Dangerous Loverboy”:
Obviously, the campaign is aimed at teen girls. And for teen girls (of which I haven’t been one in quite some time), it seems like it would be effective. The message is simple: Be careful. What looks like a great thing might just turn bad, and coerced prostitution is never a part of love.
You can find out more about this campaign and “loverboys” themselves here.