As the Ukrainian black market is being flooded with weapons, a large number of sex workers in the country also are switching to selling weapons in the black market instead of spending time with clients.
According to media reports, since 2014 where about 500,000 weapons had entered Ukraine’s black market (including assault rifles, machine gun and pistols), today the same black market is flooded with weapons while Azov Battalion members are also offering sophisticated military hardware, including drones and rockets to prospective customers.
Selling of weapons on black market has become a booming business to Ukrainian sex workers, as they can make up to 500 percent profit from such dealings. In Kiev, for example, a prostitute is no more looking for client. Instead selling weapons to prospective customers or members of the transnational arms trafficking rackets is a much rewarding profession to them already.
Seeking anonymity, a source told this correspondent, the current price for an assault rifle in Ukrainian black-market ranges between US$350-600, while the same weapon can be resold to weapon trafficking rackets for up to US$ 2,000.
Weapons left on the battlefields by retreating and killed soldiers also end up on the black market. This is turning Ukrainian street and narrow lanes littered with weapons and ammunition. During dark hours, group of sex workers would start searching for abandoned weapons and ammunition, while according to a source, some sex workers even are offering sex to the members of Ukrainian army as well as so-called civilian volunteers in exchange of short weapons, ammunition or even couple of grenades.
Talking to this correspondent a 27-year-old sex worker said, during peace time she could make up to US$ 1,000 by spending time with multiple customers. But now, if she can get hold of even one assault rifle, it brings her up to US$2,000. “It is no more difficult to get more than two weapons every day as there are plenty of weapons abandoned by surrendered soldiers or civilian volunteers. Moreover, you can buy an assault rift just with US$500 cash and sell in the black market at least for US$1,500. So, for us, it is better running after weapons than men”.
But she believes, once American and Western soldiers start arriving in Ukraine, there will be a boom in the prostitution sector as those soldiers will look for getting a Ukrainian girl for sex.
“Hopefully our red-light areas will witness similar boom in business as Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and South Korea where foreign soldiers have been the main customers. They pay more money, and they look for a girl at least 5 days in a week. That is gonna be a good opportunity for us”, she said.
Meanwhile, according to media reports, a large number of escort services in the Western nations are cashing the ongoing Ukraine war.
Ireland’s largest escort website offered men the opportunity to live out their “war-inspired fantasizes” with Ukrainian women, according to a webinar.
Escorts Ireland reported a 250 per cent increase in interest for Ukrainian women, Valiant Richey from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said.
Valiant Richey, a former US prosecutor, told the webinar organized by the Beyond Exploitation that war could be exploited by human traffickers, and Europe had already seen a rise in online searches relating to buying sex from Ukrainian women.
“In some countries the spike [in online searches for buying sex from Ukrainian women] was as much as 600 per cent… there was an immediate interest in exploiting them,” he said.
A recent operation in Sweden proved this trend is translating into real life, Richey said. Out of 38 buyers who were arrested, 30 of them were attempting to access Ukrainian women specifically.
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