[Stop-traffic] News/Kosovo: Kosovo sex trade booms due to foreigners -agency

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Kosovo: Kosovo sex trade booms due to foreigners -agency
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed Jul 19 2000 - 01:45:45 EDT

                 Kosovo sex trade booms due to foreigners -agency

Reuters Ltd.

     By Andrew Gray
      PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, May 24 (Reuters) - The influx of foreign
soldiers, aid workers and bureaucrats into Kosovo has created a booming
market for the trafficking of women forced into prostitution, an
international agency said on Wednesday.
      Young women from eastern Europe and ex-Soviet republics were lured to
the province with the promise of jobs in sectors such as catering or
entertainment and then forced to work in the sex trade, the International
Organisation for Migration (IOM) said.
      "The large international presence in Kosovo itself has made the
trafficking, or this trade, possible to a large extent," said Pasquale
Lupoli, the head of the agency's Kosovo mission.
      Since the Yugoslav province was brought under international control
last June, bars, restaurants and nightclubs have sprung up all around the
territory, often to cater for the tens of thousands of cash-rich foreign
nationals who have moved into Kosovo.
      Lupoli said his agency, which began focusing on the issue late last
year, had worked with nearly 50 foreign women who had been forced into
prostitution in Kosovo but wanted to find a way out.
      "This is just the tip of the iceberg. The increase over the past
months, what we have seen, is incredible," he told a news briefing. "There
are more and more little nightclubs and bars that are far closer to a
brothel than anything else."
      The IOM, a Geneva-based organisation which specialises in issues of
migration and immigration, has set up programmes which aim to help women
who become trapped in the sex trade to return home safely and break out of
the cycle of exploitation.
      It also launched an awareness campaign on Wednesday to warn potential
clients of the harm they cause if they use prostitutes. "You pay for a
night -- she pays with her life" is one slogan.
      The women in Kosovo helped by the agency so far were aged 16 to 25 and
about half came from the former Soviet republic of Moldova, Lupoli said.
Others came from Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania.
      "Over 70 percent of the cases that have been referred to us had no
idea that they would end up to be prostitutes," Lupoli said, adding they
had been promised jobs that were simple but "remunerated honestly."
      "But this is not the case. Once they cross the border, the victims can
be raped, beaten up, sold, and all their documents...seized. This is
normally the way it operates."
      He said the women were often living in "sub-human conditions,"
traumatised, undernourished and with little medical attention.
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