Prostitution in Ukraine – Causes and Effects
The former Soviet republic of Ukraine has been plagued by a problem for many years: sex tourism. In recent times however, the problem has grown exponentially, with many young western men travelling to this country on holiday to have a good time. Unfortunately, many of them soon find themselves engaged in what is known as ‘prostitution’. This is where men are prostituted for profit in back street brothels. Whilst many will not contemplate visiting such a place in the first place, there are others who will.
Many people in Kiev (the capital of Ukraine) find the country’s prostitution problem to be disgraceful and disgusting. Indeed, many of those who visit Kiev will do so to see how prostitution is being dealt with in the most medieval way possible. On the streets of Kiev, men dressed in all black, carrying canisters of petrol or gasoline, wait for young male customers to approach them. If they cannot get a willing male to accompany them, then the men are forced to walk away, only to return ten minutes later, having had their sexual organs painfully “offered” to the said client.
The best way to curb the problem of prostitution in Kiev is to raise awareness among western tourists visiting the region. This is especially important for single male tourists, as it is common for them to walk into brothels with women, sometimes even ones they are not interested in. Some may later decide to end their trips. Such a case however, should be enough for some establishments to close down. However, if a single male tourist decides to report his findings to the authorities, then other establishments could be forced to close down to avoid tarnishing their name or reputation.
Kiev is one of the most popular destinations in all of Ukraine. As such, it draws countless young westerners on a regular basis. And this is where they are in danger. Many girls working in the red light district of Kiev have been known to lure young men, promising them work and easy money. But once they arrive in the city and discover such girls have nothing to offer but sexual favors, they are forced to leave. The result is often a case of ‘wrong number’, leading to the young man running out of the city with a woman who he thought was an employee.
Such cases have been reported all over Ukraine, from the well-known seedy Red Light Districts of Kiev to the smaller more innocent shopping and cafe areas. Some tourists have even found their way to the ‘Ledo’, a notorious brothel in the outskirts of Kiev. However, although the laws covering sex tourism in Ukraine and abroad are not as strict as in neighbouring countries, they are nevertheless stringent. Many prostitutes have been prosecuted for prostitution when they brought women to these areas of the country, and the police are making more arrests as a result.
There have been some changes to the law however, and it is now easier to bring women into the city who are legally registered. This has not, however, stopped the trade in brothels from taking place in the ‘Ledo’. Many of the prostitutes working in these places are young women from poorer backgrounds. It is little wonder that they may easily be tempted to offer sex for money in a situation where they may not receive any payment for it. This may be the case in the more remote and less cosmopolitan parts of Ukraine, where prostitution is widespread, but is certainly not limited to the larger cities.
The best way to tackle the problem of prostitution in the Ukraine is to tackle the problem of hookers, the most common of which is the so called ok bar. This is an illegal meeting place for male prostitutes, who ply their sexual services not only in the Kiev’s Red Light District but also in the quieter, rougher neighborhoods of the capital. The word ok bar is derived from an old phrase meaning ‘from the town’. The prostitutes frequent the place and it is where they make most of their income by selling their sex for money to their customers.
Besides the ok bar, another area of rising prostitution concern is the ‘date’ or ‘booking’ sector of the industry. Some of the older prostitutes who are forced out of the city into the suburbs of Kiev, due to the pressure from the authorities, set up their own bordellos in order to live comfortably and continue offering erotic massages to the men of the ‘nightly’. These bordellos are usually found in the more remote rural areas of the country and offer both male and female prostitutes. Many of the prostitutes working in the city do not originate from the bordellos but from poorer suburbs of Kiev who are looking for easy money. Whatever the cause of the increased number of hookers, one thing is clear: the problem of prostitution in the Ukraine is one of great social concern and the authorities are taking all measures to tackle it effectively.