‘Why would you pay for a Czech woman when you can have a much cheaper Ukrainian?’ – Police deal with the first cases of forced prostitution of war refugees

Women with children fleeing the war from Ukraine, Saturday, March 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
By Karolina Klaskova
4 Min Read

Why would you pay 2,000 korunas (€81) for a Czech woman when you can have a Ukrainian woman much cheaper? That is the message being broadcast on Czech websites dedicated to arranging meetings with prostitutes.

A businessman who regularly frequents the website brought the ads for Ukrainian women to the attention of the Women’s Protection Association, and they have in turn contacted the police.

The unnamed businessman said that although he regularly visits the website, the ads for Ukrainian women disturbed him given that there are women and children fleeing the country due to the war.

The Women’s Protection Associaton’s coordinator, Zdeňka Pecharová, confirmed that the first cases of abuse of Ukrainian refugees for forced prostitution had already begun in the Czech Republic.

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“We have information from specific men that when they make an appointment and arrive at the place, it is a dirty private house where they give women drugs and force them into prostitution,” Pecharová said.

Mostly women and children flee abroad from war-torn Ukraine. According to Pecharová, men address them directly at the border, offering them transport to the Czech Republic for a fee. However, refugees thus become victims of human trafficking. Traffickers push drugs on them to get them addicted and then sexually exploit them. The association is said to know of dozens of such cases.

Monika Molnárová from the Slovak non-profit organization Caritas, which fights against human trafficking, also confirmed the presence of suspects at the borders.

“We have recorded several cases at all three crossings at the Slovak-Ukrainian border. The suspects arrived in luxury vans, were often wearing gold and some jewelry, and tried to lure women and children into the car, offering them accommodation or work abroad,” Molnárová described.

Members of her NGO’s team approached these suspicious men, which prompted them to quickly leave the scene. Based on this behavior, the team concluded that they were potential traffickers, however, they have yet to verify a specific case. Employees of the Ministry of the Interior also actively cooperated at the borders, distributing leaflets in both Ukrainian and Slovak languages with information on possible risks to war refugees.

Czech police have allegedly already received the information from the non-profit organization and will deal with the case. A few days ago, they published a video in the Ukrainian language warning of fraudulent behavior of people taking advantage of the situation in Ukraine.

“It includes, for example, an offer that someone will speed up the registration process for you or provide you with a well-paid job. Do not trust that person. You may be a victim of human trafficking and be forced to provide sexual services, slave labor, or other illegal activities,” the police officer warned in the video.

The Naši Ukrajinci (Our Ukrainians) and Pomáhej Ukrajině (Help Ukraine) projects are also trying to prevent these events.

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