Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In Ukraine, Police Write Notes To Prostitutes' Parents

KIEV, Ukraine -- In an attempt to dampen growing prostitution, Ukrainian law enforcers have adopted a new method of writing unpleasant notes to the parents of those arrested in connection with the sex trade, the Sehodnia newspaper reported on Tuesday.


The letter-writing campaign is aimed at reducing sex-for-hire in the former Soviet republic by bringing parental pressure to bear on prostitutes, said Aleksey Lazarenko, an internal ministry spokesman.

"We inform the parents their daughter was arrested at the moment she was selling her body," Lazarenko said.

"As soon as the parents of one girl found out how their daughter was earning a living, there was such a scandal in the household, that (the prostitute) had no quiet at home for an entire week, and she quit the business," he said.

The programme has had a wide-reaching effect on the prostitution industry nationwide by reducing dramatically numbers of prostitutes on the street, as most feared rows with their parents more than police, according to the report.

Prostitution is technically illegal in Ukraine but laws against it are rarely enforced by poorly-paid police. Economic hardship, drug addiction, and limited career options for women have pushed tens of thousands of Ukrainian women to sell sex.

Ukraine's government has declared the situation a "national disgrace" but nonetheless low-cost streetwalkers and bordellos are a common feature not just of all major Ukrainian cities, but most small towns and even some remote villages.

Source: NDTV

4 comments:

J M said...

Here is an article originally submitted to Kiev Post for publication. It was declined by the managing editor.
Ukraine is now the Sex Capital of Europe!
Prostitution, Sex Tourism, Corruption at the Highest Levels, and the Internet in Kiev


By Richard Buckley
There is a booming Internet business in Kiev Ukraine, this business generates millions of dollars annually for the owners, provides “retirement funds” for government officials and brings in millions of dollars into the economy. It is Internet based prostitution using the Internet to reach thousands of western buyers. This business is growing by our calculations at 20-30% a month. There are a plethora of Internet sites advertising prostitutes directly focused at western buyers. You can use any search engine and obtain 100’s of these sites. Although this is not something new, the focus is now on western men and sex tourists from foreign countries. It is able to exist due to large payoffs to High Level Government Officials, the police and Law Enforcement who’s job it is to crack down on these sites. We take a close look into this daylight mainstream business which makes millions of dollars a year.

First of all it is not a crime to be arrested as a prostitute in Kiev. The fine is about 20 Euro, and akin to a traffic ticket. It is more of an inconvenience then a crime. Since there are no real penalties for the prostitute there is little motivation for them to stop and is easy for them to justify with the income of $50-$150 an hour.

As for the agencies there are much bigger stakes, if an agency has 40 girls, each girl works 2-3 hours a day and pays the agency 50% of what they make of $200/hr (average) the agency makes $360,000 a month. This story is about just such an agency.

The agency known as Gia (www.gia.com.ua and http://www.gia-escort.com/ ) is just such an agency focused at western men. Gia openly advertises itself in England on many websites to sex tourist and provides sex junkets to Ukraine. They advertise that the pictures of the girls are real photos (and this is true to our experience) and most of their girls speak English well. Gia has been around for years and operates openly, does not try to conceal anything, their girls all have webpages with a “menu” of services, prices and a bio with enticing introduction.

We went undercover to try and expose this operation and this is what we got. We rented a flat by the day in Kiev, called Gia’s telephone number from their website and spoke with Diana. She was friendly, spoke English perfectly, and was very helpful. We asked her to make an appointment with one girl we saw on the site and Dianna said this girl was not available today, so we quickly chose another. Dianna asked my name and told us she would call the girl to confirm, asked me how long I wanted her for, what time I wanted her to arrive and where she would be going. Then Dianna said she would call me back in a few minutes. Shortly there after the phone rang and Dianna told me the girl was available and would be there at the appointed 14:00, asked me the address, door access code and flat number which I gave her.

At 14:05 the bell rang at the door and I opened it to find the girl we ordered standing in front of me wearing white jeans, a pink top and pink “bebe” sunglasses, high pink and white striped pumps with a big black bag. I have to say she was gorgeous. About 170 cm tall, with blonde hair, grey eyes and carried herself like a model. We will call her “V”( http://www.gia-escort.com/girl/vlada) . “V” greeted me and asked if my name was John (My adopted name to protect my real identity), I told her it was and I asked her in. “V” was smiling and proceeded to start chatting. Her English was good, not perfect but good. She asked me where I was from, how long I had been in Kiev and how long I would be staying. “V” then asked if I understood the rates and payment and what kind of services I had in mind. I told her I did understand the rates but I did not want sexual services, that I was a writer and was doing an article on Sex for Money in Kiev and just wanted to talk to her. “V” became very quiet. I told her it was an interview, I would pay her for her time and she would be safe, I would not use her name. “V” thought about it for a minute and told me I would have to pay $750 for the interview and it would be one hour. I told her this was a lot of money since I had only planned for 1 hour of her time. Her response was that I would pay $750 or she would leave. I agreed and asked her to make herself comfortable and asked if she wanted anything from the kitchen. “V” said some champagne (there was a bottle on the table) which I opened. She asked for the money and I went to my wallet and got it, handed it to her and “V” placed it in her bra which didn’t have much room in it anyway. “V” now smiled and was much more outgoing.

As I was filing her glass, “V” started to talk. “V” said she was married to an American, and had a 1 year old daughter. “V” said she was from Nikolaev originally and lived in Kiev for about 3 years. I said I was surprised she was married and had a baby. “V” said she was separated from her husband and she did this work to support herself. I asked her why she was separated and she said her husband discovered that she does this work and she left him. She said she had done this before and she was lucky to work at such a good agency and make so much money. She would find another rich man to support her soon. I asked if this was her goal and she said yes it was and it would not be that difficult. Maybe two or three men even. She seemed to have a plan already in motion.

I brought the bottle and her glass into the living room and sat next to her on the couch. I asked her if I could turn on my tape recorder and she looked uncomfortable again. I told her I needed it for my notes and I would destroy the tape after I was done with it. “V” agreed and asked if she could smoke, I told her sure and got an ashtray from the kitchen. She took some cigarettes from her bag and lit one, her bag was filled with different sexy costumes, she seemed prepared for all occasions. She finished the glass of champagne and her cigarette, I filled her glass again.

I asked her if she likes what she does and “V” said she likes sex very much, getting paid for it is great, and said she could not make such money any other way and she wanted to be independent.

I speak fluent Russian but wanted her to believe I did not so we spoke English all the time but I could understand her when she did not have English words which she filled in with Russian to answer the questions.

I told her I wanted to ask her questions and she should answer them so I could structure our conversation, she said “OK”.

Tell me about Gia? Gia is a great agency, they mostly only get western men looking for English speaking girls, they charge much more then the other agencies I worked for and they keep me really busy and we get good protection from the police.

How does Gia get their clients? From their Internet sites. Men look at the girls, they read the information and feel safer then with other agencies. They have many regulars and repeat clients.

Do you know who owns Gia? No, but there are 3 women who run it from their flats with cell phones, Dianna, Zhanna, and the boss.

Is the “boss’s name Elena Gudz'? I think this is it, but I am not sure about the surname. “V”’s eyes got big immediately, she looked surprised and a little frightened.

We have found that the owner of www.gia.com.ua is publicly listed as Elena Gudz', do you know this person? “I will not answer that”, she said, her voice notably shaken.

Do they have an office? No, they work from their flats.

We have found an address for www.gia.com.ua of Khreshatik 1 Kyiv Ukraine, what is this place? I do not know, she answered.

How much money does Gia make? I don’t know, but a lot. They have many girls and we all are busy all the time.

How does the money work, how much do you keep? It is a 60 – 40 split, but some girls give 50% I think. It is different with every girl. I wish I could get more but I make up for it on my own.

How much do you work? Five or Six days a week, I spend Sunday with my daughter unless there is real money to make. Everyday is different, sometimes several guys a day, sometimes just one for several hours, it is always different. Sometimes several guys at one time, it depends. But I only work from 10:00 to 22:00 or so, I need to be home with my daughter so I am usually home much earlier if there are no clients.

Do you see the boss and the other girls regularly? No, just talk to them on the phone and SMS. I meet the other girls only when a client orders several girls, or at parties or gang bangs and orgies. We do not socialize much, it is nice to see the other girls and we all get along good, they are friendly and nice. We have to be friendly since we make sex together often.

“V” had another glass of champagne and a cigarette, she smokes almost constantly and seems to like the champagne.

If you don’t see the bosses how do you give them money? We send it through the banks, through like Western Union, but it is only for Ukraine and costs very little to use, we send small amounts so it will not be very suspicious, a few hundred dollars all the time after we get paid from the clients, sometimes every day or every few days. This way there is no risk to Gia if we are followed or watched.

How does the “protection” work? Gia pays a lot of money to the highest police and government officials and the girls are required to perform services for them for free when called to do it.

How much money does Gia pay for protection? It is many thousands per month, like $20,000 or more I was told by the boss, so I was told not to worry about the police at all. If we do get in trouble which is very rare, all record of the problem will disappear in a few hours so there is no record at all on the girl, this is what we pay for and for the police not to bother us.

So you have sex with high level government officials and police for free? Yes, we go to parties and have sex with different men in the government. It helps pay for our protection, sometimes it is just one man, sometimes it is many at one time. They do not treat us as well as the clients, like we are property or cattle. Usually they are drunk and just want to have intercourse and be sucked or watch us do lesbi show and use us, sometimes it is a gang bang and not much fun.

Does this happen often? Well I can only speak for me, but every girl has to do it, I have had to do it a few times. I think new girls have to do it more then the ones who have worked here for a while, or they just like me. Besides everyone likes the new girls more as they are fresh and not so familiar. I don’t know about how many times others do it since we don’t talk about it or to the other girls, we are just told to go to a party or meet a man somewhere take “special care of them” and not to take money.

Who are the officials, can you tell me some names? No, I won’t do that, but many of them you see on the television news shows or advertisements for political offices.

OK, I understand, can you tell me what government offices they represent? Well, many times we are not introduced to these men, but you hear many things and you can recognize many of them. The ones I have been introduced to come from the Mayor’s office, the Rada, the highest police offices, the Prosecutor General’s office, and the Special Operations Police office who’s job it is to break companies like Gia, they are highly placed officials. Many times they will introduce themselves and brag how important they are. That is why Gia is so successful and safe agency to work for.

Can you tell me more about these “parties” with officials? Sure, it is simple, we go to where Gia tells us to go, maybe restaurant or club where the party is private or private house or a Gia flat, there are always big machines (cars) with drivers outside. There are men there, we have sex with them, they try to get us drunk and make us do things. It is usually not much fun. They like to show off as I make fake orgasm and they think they are such good lovers. I think it is funny, but they think they are so good, I always give them a great show, something to remember. Clients are better, they treat us better, we get paid by the clients but not to go to these parties.

How does Gia pay these officials? With one hundred dollar notes I would guess. (“V” laughed and lit another cigarette and drank some champagne)

Most of the agencies try to hide what they do or don’t use real photos of the girls, how can Gia operate so freely? They are connected at the highest levels in the government and police, they pay lots of money and give free services. Gia has been operating for many years with no problems.

Why are there so many agencies like Gia in Kiev? There is BIG money in this business, lots of customers, and girls work cheap. If you pay the right people, there are no problems.

Why are there so many girls? Girls need money, Kiev is expensive place to live, maybe they like have sex, they want expensive clothes, nice makeup, good food, to have better life. The money is the best a girl can get, no jobs pay this kind of money.

How much money do you make? I won’t tell you that, but it is a lot.

Do you have “regulars”? Yes, several, but I do business with them myself, only the first one or two times through Gia, then I make my own business with them.

So you give them your telephone number? Yes, once I can trust them not to tell Gia and I can keep all the money myself.

How long will you do this work? I am not sure, for a while until I find really good sponsors or rich new husband.

Do you look for a sponsor from Gia clients? Well it is a good place to meet rich men.

What do you do when you are not working or between clients? I go to restaurant, I look in shops, I buy clothes, I meet my friends, lots of different things.

Do your friends know what you do? No, they think I have real job as secretary.

“V” helped herself to another glass of champagne (the bottle was now empty) and lit another cigarette.

Will you give Gia half of this money? Are you kidding? she answered. I only give them what they expect to get, sometimes when I have a client and it is supposed to be for just one hour, it goes longer, I keep the extra money, I only give them what they expect.

Tell me about these “sex tours”: Gia does this themselves. They advertise abroad, and on the Internet , they have many sites not just Gia and men from foreign countries come here just to have sex with us. Usually it is with one girl for 2 days. It is very profitable and more comfortable when it is the same guy for a couple of days. I don’t do this, I cannot stay for more then several hours, but if a client wants to pay extra, I will do it just for the day. They provide everything, a car meets them at the airport, takes them to one of Gia’s flats here in the center, the girls are waiting in the flat.

Gia owns flats in the center of Kiev? Yes, several. We use them when a client does not want us to come to his place or if there is a party. They are really nice flats. They rent these flats to clients.

How much do these flats cost to own? Exactly I am not sure, but many of them are more then $300,000 - $700,000 dollars and more.

How many do they own? At least 12, maybe more.

So Gia owns $6,000,000 dollars of real estate? Yes, maybe more.

Do you know any other girls who work for Gia that would talk to me? Possibly they would if you paid them like me, but you will have to do this yourself, I don’t want anyone to know that I talked to you.

How about girls from other agencies? I do know other girls sure, but like I said, I don’t want anyone to know I talked to you or I will never work for an agency again, they don’t like girls who talk.

Tell me more about your goals and life in the future? I am the elite of elite, the best of the best of escort girls in Kiev. I am beautiful and I am sex goddess. My clients love me and ask for me again and again. I make great money now and it gets better everyday. I am the most clever girl at Gia and will find rich men to pay for me and not do this work soon.

Have you answered my questions truthfully? I tell you truth, only what I know or see and hear myself.

“V” seemed agitated, she was not smiling anymore and looked nervous.

“V” checked her phone and said our hour was up and she needed to go. She asked if I really did not want to have sex, she said she thought I was a good looking man and she would enjoy it. I asked her if it would cost more money just to see her reaction, she smiled and said “of course”. I told her thanks but no thanks, I was a writer and this is my work and I need to keep a clear understanding of my professionalism. She made a short call on her phone in Russian. She called someone and told them she was finished and ready to work again.

She gave me a card with only a telephone number on it and said if I or my friends wanted “the best sex in their life” to call her. I said thanks and might want to have another interview with her again, she winked at me and said “sure, anytime, bring big money”. She took the money from her bra and put it in her bag, got up and headed for the door. I opened the door for her and told her it was a pleasure to meet her, thanked her for the great interview and she was wonderful. She smiled and said “you don’t know how wonderful I am” and walked out.

This was our interview with an “escort” from the Gia agency. I will continue interviews with girls from other such agencies as I can get them to talk, there are several “elite” agencies in Kiev. There are many websites which just many different girls and charge the girl for the advertisement. These girls are free agents or work for a small agency with only a few girls. We are most interested in the larger more visible agencies like Gia that fuel the corruption in the highest levels of the government and police. They all operate somewhat the same, paying large sums of money to avoid scrutiny. Gia is the largest of these agencies and has been operating in Kiev for several years. From what “V” has told us it is quite a well organized operation with far reaching connections. From our calculations, the owners and operators make several million dollars a year from this operation, pay no taxes on this income and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to high level government officials and high level police. The owners have complied millions of dollars of assets. Corruption is rampant in Ukraine and does not seem to be slowing, only accelerating at a fevered pace as the country’s economy continues to boom.

It is surprising how many prostitutes are advertised on the Internet in Kiev. Several hundred different girls have explicit photos openly offering various services and list the prices which average from $100 an hour to the likes of Gia at $250 or more, these agencies are directly focused at western men as the sites are in English and have no Russian language. Many photos are not real, but some say “100% Real” and at sites like Gia, the girls are advertised as authentic and “V” proved that to us, she is just the girl in the photos on the site. The number of girls going into this business is growing rapidly, at about 20%-30% per month as we have seen. This group is made up of girls from the age of 18 to maybe 24. I suspect that many of the girls who advertise their age at 18 are most likely much younger.

As an example of young girls active in the prostitution industry in Ukraine, a close friend was in one of the better known expat bars in Kiev, he met a girl who came in and sat next to him at the bar, she ordered a Mojito. He started a casual conversation with her, she spoke English well and they chatted for a long time, after a while and another Mojito, she said she was going to another club, which he knew and would he be interested in joining her. He said yes and they left, once outside of the bar, she said she would like to have sex with him but it would cost him $80. He was surprised but accepted as she was “really hot”, about 172 cm and maybe 50 kilos with a great body draped with see through top and short miniskirt (this is pretty average dress of any girl in Kiev and not indicative of prostitutes). So they returned to his flat nearby and had sex for a couple of hours. As they were finishing they started to talk and he asked her how old she was and she told him 16. He almost had a heart attack as he felt she was surely in her 20’s. He immediately asked her to leave. The legal age of consent in Ukraine is 16 but this shows that there are many young girls actively engaged in the Sex for Money business in Kiev.

There are many sex tourism sites in England, Ukraine and Western Europe featuring “packaged” tours to Kiev for sex. Gia advertises these “sex tours” to foreigners on another website they own dedicated to sex tourism (http://www.kiev-tour.com/tour ) for the sole purpose of soliciting western men to come to Ukraine just to have sex with their girls, so they are even importing their clients with the express purpose of breaking the laws in Ukraine for a mere $1200-$1600 for 2 days. Some of them (including Gia) include the cost of the girls (or boys), airfare and apartment rental. They show explicit pictures of the girls to entice the men and seem very well organized. These “Sex Tours” range from a weekend in Kiev (2 days) to week long sex junkets. Many of the girls advertised on the Sex Tourism sites are the same girls advertised on the many sex sites in Kiev. This is a huge business and is only getting bigger and more popular.

There are not many girls over the age of 26 in this industry especially focused at western men and the average age seems to be 20 or so. It seems that western men are more attracted to the younger of the age range. In this article we do not even address the freelance girls in clubs and bars or “staff” girls in most hotels. Most hotels in Kiev have girls that work only in these hotels and are on “call” for customer’s “needs”. Freelance prostitutes are not allowed in hotels and if you were to hire a girl to come to your hotel room, you would have to meet her on the street and then bribe the door man or security to get her into the building which costs up to $50.00.

We have seen the far reaching degree of corruption in officials relating to this industry in Kiev and can only assume many people are getting rich by abusing their positions. This has always been a problem in Ukraine and there is no end in site as government officials and police openly promote this business. It seems no one wants to put a stop to it or can. This type of activity is particularly distasteful to a government who is so pro-western and verbally outspoken to stop corruption. It is evident that the government’s claims of enforcing laws and cleaning up corruption is only “lip service” and there will be nothing done to curb the growth of this multi-million dollar industry that operates openly and freely in Kiev.

It seems that Ukrainian women are prostitutes all over the world from Europe to Hong Kong. Where ever there is a tall leggy blonde prostitute she will most likely be from Ukraine. This will only become more prevalent as Ukraine comes closer to entering the EU.

With the astronomical increase in AIDS in Ukraine and the fact that westerns have to have an AIDS test to enter Russia these days and Ukraine just turns a blind eye to this, it is no wonder the western world has a dim view of the morals and values of this country and worth of Ukraine ascending into the EU. Western governments should protest these business practices and operations and hold the government of Ukraine responsible and accountable for allowing this degree of corruption to flourish in the daylight much less the darkness.

This is a shameful record for Ukraine’s government as it does nothing to stop this activity and the officials tasked to stop this criminal activity are criminals themselves actually helping it succeed. Ukraine has made no effort to stop the corruption in the government, there are no efforts to investigate and charge these officials as the criminals they truly are. If Ukraine can end the corruption, then the next step would be to bring the owners and operators of these agencies to justice but it is an impossible task without the support of the government and the mechanism of law enforcement which exists only in name and of course the uniformed presence is truly a joke.
As they are showing by the actions professed in the above article, telling the parents of these "girls" may not do much as their parents are probably in need of the additional income their hard working daughter is providing. Again Ukraine continues to astound me. Maybe if Laws were passed in Ukraine like those in the USA where the funds seized by law enforcement was allocated to the agency which preformed the arrest, one might see some action by the police. Harassment, prosecution, and continued enforcement by police can make a statement, but the real way to effect this industry is to go after these agencies and officials they support who are the ones REALLY profiting.

Erin R said...

Has Richard Buckley's article been published anywhere? I'd love to use it for research in a paper I'm writing, but it'd be great if I could cite an official news organization.

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Michelle said...

While the severity of the penalties against prostitutes does appear to affect the volume of prostitution, modest fines against prostitutes may actually force them to commit more prostitution to pay the fines. However, this is a nice thing that's been done by the police. Famous women in business would surely want to that other women would also live a good life.