News / Europe

Ukraine Feminists Campaign Against Sex Tourism

Ukraine Feminists Campaign Against Sex Tourismi
|| 0:00:00
X
James Brooke
November 06, 2012
Ukraine’s Femen group is pushing its topless protest tactics around the world. Back home, the group is campaigning against sex tourism. VOA's James Brooke reports from Kyiv about what drives Ukraine’s most famous political export.

Ukraine Feminists Campaign Against Sex Tourism

TEXT SIZE - +
— At first, protests by Ukrainian feminist group Femen were ignored by the media.  But two years ago the women started taking off their shirts.  In recent months, their tactic has spread to France, Canada, and Brazil.

Back home, in a basement office in downtown Kyiv, Oleksandra Shevchenko, a Femen founder, rebuts critics who say Femen protesters attract media attention for the wrong reasons.

“When we mixed nakedness, intelligence and our ideas, we saw that it is working,” she says.  “People saw this contradiction, they are not ready to see, and to listen to women, and to see aggressive women, naked, aggressive women.”

Coming from Eastern Europe, Ukraine’s Femen and Russia’s Pussy Riot band represent a new kind of feminist protest, theatrical and radical.  In Kyiv, activists train regularly for protests.  Behind the training is anger that Eastern European women are 30 years behind Western European women, in salaries and in job discrimination by employers.

“They say, 'You will get married in a few years, or even like, in a few months you will be pregnant, like you are not a good worker, I don’t want to have you in my office,” Shevchenko says. “Or, like the second way to work there, they say that you have to sleep with me, we have to have sex.  And we can do nothing.”

In June, Femen protested Ukraine's co-hosting of the European football (soccer) championships.  They argued some fans would also visit Ukrainian brothels and strip clubs.

Shevchenko says, “We have a lot of sex tourists here in Ukraine.  Because nobody cares about that, nobody wants to stop this problem.”

The sex industry thrives in Ukraine, a country where women score high in beauty and low in income.

“It is really easy to become a prostitute in Ukraine, even for me, or for other girls,” notes Shevchenko.  “You just need to make this one step to become a prostitute.  I have a lot of invitations from a lot of brothels, from different strip clubs.”

Oksana Shachko, a veteran Femen activist, goes a step further, attacking Internet international dating sites, sometimes called mail-order bride sites.

“There are many websites that advertise Ukrainian women, because Ukraine girls are beautiful.  But, unfortunately, many are undereducated and want to become a wife of a rich man, their knight on a white horse,” she says.  “But in actuality, it is only like exporting human flesh, and it is illegal.  We are trying to explain to these girls that it is not a real way to a good life. “

Shevchenko, 24, has to juggle her feminism with the traditional expectations of her mother and grandmother.

“They imagine for me another life,” says Shevchenko, who grew up in a mid-sized city in Western Ukraine.  “They wanted to see me as a wife and a mother.  And each single day when my mom calls me she says, 'When I will have my grandchildren, did you find a man?'  And I do not know what to answer her.”

But Shevchenko believes she can have it all.  A few weeks ago, she helped to open Femen’s new office in Paris.  She says she met several interesting Frenchmen, men she calls ‘male feminists.’

James Brooke

A foreign correspondent who has reported from five continents, Brooke, known universally as Jim, is the Voice of America bureau chief for Russia and former Soviet Union countries. From his base in Moscow, Jim roams Russia and Russia’s southern neighbors.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Guest from: USA
November 06, 2012 1:59 PM
" But, unfortunately, many are undereducated and want to become a wife of a rich man, their knight on a white horse,” she says. “But in actuality, it is only like exporting human flesh, and it is illegal. We are trying to explain to these girls that it is not a real way to a good life. “

Yes but it's an easy life and one which is far more profitable than earning money like most men must. It's also a personal choice which feminist gender-bigot goons will never really be able to prohibit. Besides the real intent here by socially correct women to corner the market so that they can sell sex wholesale through the institution of feminist-subjugated, reproductive, marriage and family law.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid