Back in 2012, Kiev ranked by Traveler’s Digest as number one city of beautiful women. Ukrainian city Kiev certainly has some of the most beautiful women in the world – and they are present at all levels of society. They’re the trophy wives coolly observing the world from the back of chauffeur-driven Bentleys, and the bored supermarket cashiers who will raise their eyebrows if you fail to produce the exact change. But, Ukraine’s underground sex industry has been growing – even at much faster speed of a bullet train. Writes Elizabeth Baigushova
Ever-since the fall of Soviet Union, a large number of so-called escort and modelling agencies have been established in Ukraine, mostly by quick-cash-seeking individuals from Western countries, as well as from India and Africa. They came in Ukraine, practically with no big cash to invest. But their luck clicked, as they found hundreds of Ukrainian females, who were readily accepting assignment for topless photo shoots, or even full nude photos. Others were ready to join those companies as female escorts, and were attending clients in Ukraine as well as other nations in the world – including the Middle East. Ukrainian escort agencies were also sending their girls to various tourist destinations, such as Thailand, the Philippines, Bali (in Indonesia), Goa (in India), Casablanca (in Morocco), Las Vegas, and of course – Dubai. Though these Ukrainian escort girls were making millions of dollars for those agencies, they were on monthly payroll, while many of them succeeded in making extra cash by satisfying their customers.
Ukrainian police will claim, they have strict laws in combating sex tourism and sex industry, and only a handful of sex workers were available to the foreigners, such statements are seen as humorous. Foreigners never had any problem in finding girls either from the streets, or from the agencies – or even in the hotels or guest houses. Every night, hotels and guest houses are flooded with sex workers, looking for customers. Even some of the sex workers would not bother making a call to the hotel room, either from the lobby or from a cellphone – asking – if the boarder was looking for a company.
According to experts of Ukrainian sex industry, it is unregulated and scary. Though females join the sex industry by choice, they do not romanticize it. A sex worker named Natasha said: Around here, people don’t think about purchasing sex, they think of it as purchasing a human being. Women get groomed for the sex trade early: when I was still a teenager, I went to what I thought was a nice club in downtown Kiev, only to be approached by a madam who praised my nubile looks and encouraged me to come and work in her bordello, as she needed “classy girls.
An extensive study on Ukrainian sex industry noted that 39 percent of Ukrainian sex workers do not use condoms, and 22 percent of them are addicted to drug. Most sex workers who do not use condoms report that they are pressured to do so by their clients.
Until 2011, the number of sex workers in Ukraine were above 200,000, while the number has greatly increased during the past one decade. Moreover, according to studies, every sixth Ukrainian sex worker is a minor.
In Ukraine, the sex industry exists underground and continues to prosper. Many people in Ukraine also consider women who have joined sex industry or opted sex as full time or part time source of income – are considered as “permanently tainted”. Ukrainian male society would never see the women in the sex industry as human being. Instead, they would see them as mere tools of meeting sexual fantasies. Otherwise, a boyfriend of any sex worker will ultimately start passing her to his friends and even compel her in giving sex to groups – while she also becomes victim of gang rape.