Members of Femen women’s movement, mostly Ukrainian college students, came out against the growth of sex-tourism in the state. To attract interest on a national and international level they headed to Maidan Nezalezhnosti wearing revealing attires and carrying demonstration posters, which said “Ukrainian girls are not for sale!”
Public reaction on a group of girls in pink tights and mini-skirts ranged a lot. Some of people were quite positive about the idea brought up by the girls who were chanting “Ukraine is not a brothel”, and the rest of them just catcalled the activists. The girls came up to male foreigners, irrespective of citizenship, and gave them leaflets, containing information on the theme and saying that Ukraine remains one of the most AIDS-affected countries.
Other groups of activists dressed in doctor’s overalls with syringes were standing at embassies of several countries. Doctor’s overalls were a symbol of sex-addiction of some foreigners, and the girls were telling that guests of the state should chuck this off.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ukraine, there around 12 thousand prostitutes in the country, most of them being teenagers. In Kiev 60 per cent of them are university or college students. A high unemployment rate, low income and heavy living expenses drive young girls sell their bodies.
According to official statistics, in 2008 the average monthly income in Kiev was as much as EUR 300. A lot of people lost their jobs this year or had their salaries reduced because of the economical crisis.
Poor economic circumstances and imperfect immigration laws provided a fertile field for sex-tourism, the spokeswoman of Fremen movement Tanya Kozak told. Together with Kiev International Institute of Sociology they surveyed 1,200 college students and 70 per cent of them admitted that at discos, bars and out in the street they were at least once approached by foreigners with indecent proposals.
Prostitution is officially prohibited in Ukraine, that’s why these proposals come from websites, semi-modest ads and are made at night-clubs. Last year a 21-year old concierge from one of the most luxurious hotels in Kiev was arrested for mediating between rich clients and prostitutes – he got $100 for each “deal’.
Fremen movement was supported by DJ Hell, who came from Germany to participate in the campaign. Together with his band he flew to Kiev and made a real show in the very heart of the capital. The girls designed special costumes with symbolic price tags. This show was aimed at demonstrating how much suffering women in Ukraine have to go through, said DJ Hell.
Ukraine will become the hosting country of Euro 2012 Football Championship, and Femin activists say that the country will experience a great burst of sex-tourism. They are sure that not all soccer fans are attracted exclusively by sport.
Photo credits – all photos