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UKRAINE CONSCIOUSLY SUPPLIES THE WHITE SLAVE At risk are 1,400,000 potential victims of the sex industry

21 April, 00:00
By Oksana Panchenko, The Day

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry states that 400,000 female citizens of Ukraine aged under 30 are officially listed as staying abroad. However, studies carried out by the International Migration Organization point to 1,400,000 illegal immigrants originating from Ukraine. Aged between 16 and 25, most of these are either unemployed or dissatisfied with their jobs, thus forming what is termed a risk group.

Ukraine has already made 16 intergovernmental and 6 international agreements dealing with external labor migration and the social protection of its citizens. Ukrainian citizens received the right to work in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Moldova, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and several other postcommunist states. However, “good money” promised Ukrainian women more often than not lead them into traps laid by the so-called sex industry.

The illegal migration turning women (and often men) into donors of this industry is rooted in Ukraine. Primarily due to joblessness, as the 8.9% unemployment rate formally attributed to Europe is no longer true. In some regions it registers 30-50%, with women topping the list. Secondly, people lacking education often fall pray to fake firms allegedly procuring jobs abroad. Officially, 530 business entities are in possession of such licenses and fraudulent practices are on an upward curved. A number of such cases were prevented thanks to the La Strada Hot Line (tel. 224-0446) when calls from women looking for foreign jobs were answered and truthful explanations given.

The Ministry of Labor checked the licenses of middleman firms and found that many had no right to conduct this line of business. Cases are registered when young women returned from their new places of work three days later, having followed instructions (report to the Ukrainian embassy on arrival and refuse to part with their belongings and papers).

“Over the past six months alone, 29 employment intermediary licenses have been revoked,” says Natalia Sapon, head of the international contacts department at the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of Ukraine. “Often such firms simply have no job placement contracts with foreign partners or they start by collecting money as traveling expenses and to get visas, and then vanish into thin air.” The Day was informed by Kyiv’s Public Prosecutor’s Office that, following numerous complaints of fraud, inspections are now underway at all firms involved in one way or another with illegal migration. For the time being this is the only method of combating this social evil. Pimping is not legally punishable in Ukraine. On the last day in office the Verkhovna Rada failed to approve certain amendments to the Criminal Code, envisaging punishing shipments of human transplants and white slavery by luring needy people into the sex industry. The draft provides for between 3 and 8 years of imprisonment.

Legal practice here knows few if any cases of indictment on white slavery charges. In such case a pimp took 38 women out of Ukraine, allegedly to get them legitimate jobs abroad. Several who made it back turned to court. The man was tried, found guilty of moral damage, and ordered to pay a fine of nearly 40 hryvnias (under $20).


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