An Irish escort site encouraged men to pay to have sex with Ukrainian women

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Escort website encouraged men to live out ‘war-inspired fantasies’ by paying to have sex with Ukrainian women who fled war in Ireland

  • The Irish sex trade is already responding to the refugee crisis, an expert says today
  • OSCE Representative Valiant Richey cited the website as an example
  • The website saw a 250% increase in advertising services for Ukrainian women
  • There has been a dramatic increase in the number of men looking for Ukrainian women to have sex with on the internet, he also told a virtual conference.

An Irish escort website encouraged men to pay to have sex with Ukrainian women fleeing Vladimir Putin’s invasion and live out their “war-inspired fantasies”.

A European anti-trafficking expert warned on Thursday that the Irish sex trade was already responding to the refugee crisis which has seen a surge in demand for men trying to ‘identify and have sex with’ evacuated women.

Valiant Richey, a representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, cited the website as an example of the increased demand.

“We are already seeing the [sex work] market in response to the refugee crisis, he said. “For example, one of Ireland’s largest escort websites offered men the opportunity to live out their ‘war-inspired fantasies’ with Ukrainian women.”

Mr Richey said the same escort website had reported a 250% increase in the number of Ukrainian women using it to advertise services since the start of the war.

An Irish escort website has encouraged men to pay to have sex with Ukrainian women fleeing Vladimir Putin’s war and live out their “war-inspired fantasies”. Pictured: Evacuees wait in a queue to board a train to Poland at Lviv station in western Ukraine on March 5, 2022

The vast majority of people fleeing Ukraine since the invasion began on February 24 are women. Under the country’s martial law, men between the ages of 18 and 60 were required to stay and fight.

The existence of the website was revealed at a National Council of Women digital event on Thursday, at which Richey said there was a “significant spike” in the use of online search terms “related purchase of sexual services from Ukrainian women”.

The Anti-Trafficking Coordinator said some countries had seen a 600% increase in these search terms, according to the Irish Independent.

“In other words, one of the first measurable reactions in Europe to the crisis was men’s attempts to identify and have sex with women and girls fleeing the conflict,” Richey said.

“The influx of vulnerable women and girls into Western Europe immediately increased men’s interest in exploiting them.”

He said the influx of evacuees from Ukraine, coupled with the increased demand for men seeking Ukrainian sex workers, has opened the door for sex traffickers who want to expose the crisis.

Meeting demand, he said, is the most effective way to combat trafficking.

“Since the start of the war, there has been a huge increase in demand, which will be a strong incentive for traffickers to recruit and exploit Ukrainian women on a large scale,” he said at the event.

“Meeting the demand today is the best anti-trafficking tool we have, to prevent the current humanitarian crisis from becoming a trafficking crisis.”

Richey was joined by several other speakers at the event, which called on the Irish government to protect women and children fleeing war.

Mr Richey told an event on Thursday that the escort website had reported a 250% increase in the number of Ukrainian women using it to advertise services since the start of the war.  Pictured: Ukrainian evacuees are seen lining a train in Lviv on March 5, 2022

Mr Richey told an event on Thursday that the escort website had reported a 250% increase in the number of Ukrainian women using it to advertise services since the start of the war. Pictured: Ukrainian evacuees are seen lining a train in Lviv on March 5, 2022

The co-ordinator of Beyond Exploitation (Irish civil society’s campaign for equality and freedom from sexual exploitation), Mia de Faoite, said doing the same was a top priority for the Irish government as the war continues in its fourth month.

“It is a matter of urgency, women and girls are already disappearing into the hands of traffickers, many women have already been raped by soldiers or sexually exploited by buyers,” she said.

“We need all necessary safeguards to be put in place urgently and those tasked with responding to demand must be resourced and supported.”

In April, the United Nations warned that the evacuee crisis would increase the prevalence of sex trafficking, with traffickers taking advantage of the vulnerability of women desperately fleeing the country.

Human rights organizations have also warned of the risks posed by schemes in which citizens take fleeing Ukrainians home.

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