Re: NEWS:Ukraine: Film Warns Of Forcible Prostitution Abroad

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Woman and Earth (
Thu, 2 Jul 1998 13:20:38 -0400 (edt)

Dear Friends:

Woman and Earth would like to make contact with the producers of this film
in connection it our upcoming film festival at our world conference in
Helsinki in December. Could you please provide us with e-mail and contact


Woman and Earth
Woman and Earth Global Eco-Network

On Wed, 1 Jul 1998, Jyothi Kanics---Global Survival Network wrote:

> Ukraine: Film Warns Of Forcible Prostitution Abroad
> from RFE/RL
> By Lily Hyde
> Kyiv, 30 June 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Girls behind prison bars vainly try to hide
> their faces. Prostitutes in
> brothel windows turn away from the camera. One woman tells a chilling
> story of being sold by her
> husband into the clutches of a mob. Others giggle coyly when they are
> asked what they do and
> boast of how much they earn.
> It's all in "Ukrexport," a 30-minute film exploring the fate of Ukrainian
> women working abroad in the
> sex industry.
> Made by the television production company Studio 1+1, the film was
> produced through a joint
> U.S.-European Union initiative on the prevention of trafficking in women,
> directed by the
> International Organization for Migration (IOM). The intention is to inform
> Ukrainian women of
> possible dangers of working abroad.
> Ukraine is currently one of the largest "exporters" of women, working
> either willingly or under
> duress, in the international sex industry. Some are fooled by
> advertisements offering apparently
> innocent, well-paid work as housekeepers, dancers, or models. Later,
> their passports are taken
> from them and they are forced, often violently, to work as prostitutes.
> Others are drawn to work voluntarily in the business, attracted by the
> promise of profits beyond
> anything they could earn in Ukraine, where most women are either
> unemployed or underemployed.
> However, there is usually a catch to the high earnings: the criminal rings
> which run international
> prostitution take the lion's share.
> "The film intends to advise that, though you think you will be making a lot
> of money, that's not the
> case. There are a lot of middlemen," said Natalka Kocan, coordinator of
> the IOM project in
> Ukraine, which is funded by the U.S. State Department.
> Filming was not easy, said the film's director, Nikolai Shavel.
> The crew was banned from filming in Amsterdam's red-light district, and
> had to go to Brussels
> instead. In Turkey, authorities allowed cameras into an overcrowded
> detention center for people
> awaiting deportation, only after half the inmates were moved out and
> carpets laid on the floors.
> Almost all the women interviewed hid their faces from the camera, for
> fear that relatives and friends
> in Ukraine might recognize them.
> Reactions to "Ukrexport" have been mixed. Kara Galbraith from the
> Ukraine office of the Newly
> Independent States (NIS)-United States Women's Consortium welcomed it
> as a good aid to raising
> awareness. "We needed to have a film made that deals primarily with the
> trafficking of Ukrainian
> women abroad and the lack of work opportunities at home," she said.
> Two women who work with victims of trafficking, and who asked to be
> identified only as Katya and
> Olga, were more critical. Many of the unrepentant Ukrainian women,
> awaiting deportation from
> Turkey, did not regard themselves as victims, and one said it was
> possible to earn up to 5,000
> dollars a month in her line of work. Olga and Katya said that including
> those remarks in the film
> might encourage women to work as prostitutes abroad. "Prostitution is
> the woman's private choice,
> but we don't really want anyone to present prostitution as a great job,"
> said Olga.
> In the section on Brussels, the camera lingers on women posing in the
> windows of the red-light
> district. The town appears brightly colored, the girls are beautiful. Katya
> objected to what she
> viewed as the element of voyeurism and fascination in those scenes. "It
> portrayed the face of a
> prostitute, not a victim of sexual traffic," she said. Shavel was surprised
> by the criticism. He said he
> was directed to make a film that "would make no woman ever wanting to
> go abroad." Shavel said
> the crew found that prostitutes are indeed exploited. "They work for
> bread and butter and
> cigarettes," he said. However, he acknowledged that, in Turkey, the
> women can earn good money in
> decent working conditions. He also said that Turks expressed respect
> and liking for Ukrainian
> women, who constitute, by far, the largest ethnic group among the
> country's foreign sex workers.
> Besides "Ukrexport," the IOM has commissioned two other documentary
> films. The organization
> has also produced posters and leaflets detailing typical trafficking cases,
> and recommending simple
> precautions for women considering work abroad, such as ensuring their
> foreign job is clearly defined
> in a contract and leaving a photocopy of their passport and contact
> numbers and addresses with
> friends and family. The leaflet also provides contact numbers of
> Ukrainian embassies and consulates
> in some of the primary destinations for women working abroad, including
> Germany, the Netherlands,
> Belgium, Serbia and Turkey.
> The printed material is being distributed through women's groups and aid
> organizations, youth clubs
> and regional employment centers via the Ministries of Family and Youth,
> Education, and Labor and
> Social Policy. The film was aired on nationwide television this month.
> The IOM, in association with women's groups, has also organized a
> series of screenings followed by
> group discussions in various cities around Ukraine. A group of teenagers
> from the Ukrainian debate
> center who were shown the film by the NIS-U.S. Women's Consortium,
> found "Ukrexport" a
> powerful argument against leaving the hardships of Ukraine to seek their
> fortunes in other countries.
> When a somewhat large prostitute appeared in a Brussels window,
> some of the Ukrainian teens
> giggled. But, when she spoke of having 20 clients a day, a wave of
> shock and disgust rippled
> through the viewing room.
> "It's like a horror film," said one 17-year-old girl. "I wouldn't go abroad
> after this."
> 30-06-98

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