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Human Trafficking
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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                      


Ukraine's dependence on Russia for energy supplies and the lack of significant structural reform have made the Ukrainian economy vulnerable to external shocks. Ukraine depends on imports to meet about three-fourths of its annual oil and natural gas requirements. Ukraine concluded a deal with Russia in January 2006 that almost doubled the price Ukraine pays for Russian gas. Disputes with Russia over pricing have led to periodic gas cut-offs.

Real GDP growth reached roughly 7% in 2006-07, fueled by high global prices for steel - Ukraine's top export - and by strong domestic consumption, spurred by rising pensions and wages.

Description: Ukraine

However, political turmoil in Ukraine as well as deteriorating external conditions are likely to hamper efforts for economic recovery.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Ukraine.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of child prostitution are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got started, how they survive, and how some succeed in leaving.  Perhaps your paper could focus on runaways and the abuse that led to their leaving.  Other factors of interest might be poverty, rejection, drug dependence, coercion, violence, addiction, hunger, neglect, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the manipulative and dangerous adults who control this activity.  There is a lot to the subject of Child Prostitution.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

La Strada Ukraine

Within Ukraine – 0800 500 225

From abroad – 442 053 736

International Organization for Migration  44-568 50 15

Country code: 380-



The Situation Of Children In Ukraine And Their Vulnerability To Commercial Sexual Exploitation [PDF]

Julia. Galustyan, Head of Centre for Gender Studies, PhD. in Sociology & Valentina. Novitskaya, Research Fellow, Centre for Gender Studies, ECPAT International, Ukrainian Institute Of Social Research, 2003

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 5 August 2011]

According IOM data, of 1355 Ukrainian victims of trafficking who asked for help, 10% were adolescents (mostly aged from 12 to18).  In September 2003, in the Poltava region, a girl born in 1986 was captured. She was forced into prostitution and transferred to Novorossiysk (Russian Federation). She gave birth to an infant girl  in 1988. She gave this infant to Russian souteneurs (pimp) for further sexual exploitation.  While  this case was subject to criminal investigation, another group of under-age victims (5 persons) was revealed. Regarding the girl,  a  criminal lawsuit was brought in accordance with Article 149, Chapter 3, of the Ukrainian Criminal Code.

There are rare cases when parents themselves sell their children: In Yevpatoria, Crimea, a mother offered her 10-year-old son for homosexual contact.  In Kyiv, a mother sold her 9-year-old daughter for dollars. The mother was happy that she got a good price and used the money to spend time with her friends. She said other parents received for their children only 10 hrivnas (2 US dollars). (Documentary film: ‘Meeting with Chimeras’.)  In the Zhitomir region, alcoholic parents sent their under-age daughter ‘to go for a drive’ in a car (to give sex-services). As reward, these parents received vodka.

Flourishing of child prostitution in Ukraine

Juan Miguel Petit, Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Mar 22, 2007

[URL of the report has been withheld due to a suspected virus threat at that location]

[Last access date unavailable]

Juan Miguel Petit said that Ukrainian child prostitution has increased for recent years. According to the research of Ukrainian Institute of Social Investigation, there are 11% of children at the age of 12-15 and 20% of children at the age of 16-17 among women who are engaged in sexual service. Petit pointed out that there are even 10 years old girls who are involved in prostitution.

The UNO chairman worries about the way the procurers, trafficking dealers and producers of pornography use children. He learned from mass media and different booklets for tourists that there are many announcements about weddings and meetings which are not controlled. He emphasized that with visa free entrance for majority of west countries Ukraine is turning into an open country for sex-tourism. The Commission's Special Rapporteur apprehends that there are many juveniles, exploited in this spreading activity.


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Country Monitoring Report [PDF]

Elisa Maran, ECPAT International, 2011

[accessed 9 September 2020]

Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Ukraine. The report looks at protection mechanisms, responses, preventive measures, child and youth participation in fighting SEC, and makes recommendations for action against SEC.

Human Rights Reports » 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 10, 2020

[accessed 9 September 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The law prohibits the commercial sexual exploitation of children, the sale of children, offering or procuring a child for child prostitution, and practices related to child pornography. The minimum prison sentence for child rape is eight years. Molesting a child younger than 16 is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years. The same offense committed against a child younger than 14 is punishable by imprisonment for five to eight years. The age of consent is 16.

Sexual exploitation of children, however, remained significantly underreported. Commercial sexual exploitation of children remained a serious problem.

Domestic and foreign law enforcement officials reported that a significant amount of child pornography on the internet continued to originate in the country. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that children from socially disadvantaged families and those in state custody continued to be at high risk of trafficking, including for commercial sexual exploitation and the production of pornography. For example, on September 4, the Pechersk District Court in Kyiv authorized the arrest of a Kyiv resident who allegedly produced and disseminated pornography of his two children. An investigation was underway as of October.

2018 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2019

[accessed 9 September 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 1181]

Children from Ukraine are trafficked both internationally and domestically for commercial sexual exploitation and forced begging. (16,18) Children with disabilities and homeless, orphaned, and poor children, especially those living in state-run institutions, are at high risk of being trafficked and targeted by recruiters for child pornography. (1,16,17,28,29) Ukraine is a destination and transit country for refugees from Afghanistan, Somalia, and Syria. Refugees lack access to state-run children’s shelters, have no formal means of acquiring food and other assistance from the government, and experience heightened vulnerability to child trafficking. (29)

Concluding Observations Of The Committee On The Rights Of The Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 17 November 1995

[accessed 5 January 2011]

[14] The Committee regrets that appropriate measures have not yet been taken to effectively prevent and combat ill treatment of children in schools or in institutions where children may be placed. The Committee is also preoccupied by the existence on a large scale of child abuse and violence within the family and the insufficient protection afforded by the existing legislation and services in that regard. The problem of sexual exploitation of children also requires special attention.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, 24/09/2001

[accessed 19 September 2011]

[11] The Committee is concerned at the large-scale trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of women and children.

[29] The Committee encourages the State party to strengthen its efforts to combat the trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of women and children. It recommends that the State party vigorously pursue the enforcement of criminal laws in this regard; ensure that victims are not penalized and are provided with rehabilitation; ensure that the National Coordination Council against Trafficking is adequately resourced and staffed; and reinforce its cooperation with international and regional organizations, as well as on a bilateral basis. The Committee recommends that the State party, in its fifth periodic report, provide full information on the trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of women and children, including data on the scale of the phenomenon.

helping to feed Ukraine's tunnel children

Cassandra Jardine, The Telegraph, 24 Jan 2009

[accessed 8 August 2011]

At night, they emerge to steal, forage and earn money from prostitution; by day, they cuddle up to the giant hot water pipes that serve public buildings. These are the street children of Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine.

As many as 200,000 such unaccounted-for children live rough in a country where daytime temperatures can be -20C (-4F). They live under manholes that cover the maintenance points for the city’s heating system and conditions are cramped, insanitary and dangerous – many are burnt by the scalding pipes. But it is their only means of survival in a country which has been beset by problems since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Ghana: Rescuing the Child Prostitute, Whose Responsibility?

Wisdom Dzidedi Donkor, Public Agenda (Accra), 5 November 2007

[partially accessed 8 August 2011 - access restricted]]

RESEARCH FINDINGS - In the Ukraine, a survey conducted by the group "La Strada-Ukraine" in 2001-2003, based on a sample of 106 women being 'trafficked' out of Ukraine found that 3% were under 18, and the US State Department reported in 2004 that incidents of minors being trafficked was increasing.

UN children rights expert gives Ukraine mixed report on a new protection model

UN News Service, 31 October 2006

[accessed 8 August 2011]

UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Juan Miguel Petit, said the country needs “to build a new model of protection for children’s rights,” one that allows a greater role for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private sector initiatives, to make up for diminished state capabilities.

One key institutional gap is the “absence of a separate juvenile justice system” to deal with child prostitution, trafficking and street children, Mr. Petit said.

Joint East West Research on Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes in Europe: The Sending Countries [PDF]

Edited by: Muireann O’Briain, Anke van den Borne & Theo Noten, ECPAT Europe Law Enforcement Group, Programme against Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes in Europe, Amsterdam, 2004

[accessed 5 January 2011]

[accessed 10 February 2016]

[page 35]  Only a few prostituted minors in Ukraine work in hotels, casinos and restaurants; most of them offer their services at stations, on highways and in marketplaces. The report refers to the dangerous and unhygienic conditions in which minor prostitutes in Ukraine work, particularly those who operate on the highways and the streets. For this reason, many prostituted children get ill with sexually transmitted diseases.

Five Years After Stockholm [PDF]

ECPAT: Fifth Report on implementation of the Agenda for Action

ECPAT International, November 2001

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[B] COUNTRY UPDATES – UKRAINEUkraine is mainly a country of origin for women and girl trafficking victims.  They are trafficked for sexual purposes to Western and Central Europe, as well as to the Mediterranean region.  Ukraine is also a transit country for women trafficked from Russia, the Indian sub-continent and Central Asia to Western Europe. Street children of both sexes, some less than 7 years of age, prostitute themselves as a means of survival.

Ukrainian National Consultation on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

ECPAT International, Situational Analysis Research, Kiev Ukraine, 4 March 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 August 2011]

Research shows that of all those engaged in prostitution in the country, 11% are girls aged between 12 and 15, and 20% are aged 16 to 17. Furthermore, 18% of street children in Ukraine have been victims of sexual violence and sexual exploitation. A mere 10% of the parents of children who run away from home actually try to find their children.

ECPAT: Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes

ECPAT International Newsletter, Issue No : 33  1/December/2000

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 13 September 2011]

EASTERN EUROPE - Hungary and Poland are receiver, sender and transit countries for the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. Romania is a sender and receiver country but Bulgaria is only a sender country. Hungary and Poland receive children from Romania, Ukraine and Russia. The main destinations for children trafficked from and through Poland are Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium. Many of the victims are boys. Furthermore, in Poland students voluntarily prostitute themselves in Germany over the weekends in order to earn money.

The Way Home

The Way Home - Odessa charity fund of rehabilitation and social adaptation for homeless people

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 5 August 2011]

WHAT IS HAPPENING? - How do the children survive out in the street? They united into groups, worked out their rules and habits. They earn their living in every possible way honestly and not very honestly. They wash cars, carry heavy things, beg, steal, get engaged in prostitution… Naturally, the children who stay out of doors do not go to school.

LifeNets Commits to Helping Orphans and Street Children in Vinogradov

Victor Kubik, LifeNets, July 26, 2001

[accessed 5 August 2011]

Children have had to fend for themselves.  Many of them are orphans or have lost one of their parents.  It is sad, but many of the children know their parents only as alcoholics and know only sickness, cold and hunger.  The children's lives are often accompanied with beatings, addition to drugs, criminality, prostitution and begging. Constantly we see children searching through garbage cans to something edible.




ECPAT Global Monitoring Report on the status of action against commercial exploitation of children - UKRAINE [PDF]

ECPAT International, 2006

[accessed 7 August 2011]

Ukraine is a country from which children are trafficked for sexual purposes. Minors are trafficked primarily to Russia and other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, as well as to western European countries. Ukraine is also a destination country, and during the summer months in particular, many minors from CIS countries are trafficked to the Crimea and the Azov sea coast for prostitution. This phenomenon is directly connected to child sex tourism, which is practised by Ukrainian citizens and foreigners alike and seems to be on the rise.

Research has shown that between 30 and 40 per cent of sex workers in Ukraine are between 11 and 18 years old. Most of them are prostituted in tourist resorts in the Black Sea during the summer months, particularly in the Odessa and Crimea regions. This suggests a strong link between the prostitution of children and child sex tourism within the country.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 11 February 2020]

CHILDREN - Children continued to be victims of violence and abuse. The Voice of Ukraine newspaper reported that, in response to a January 2004 poll by the State Institute of Family and Youth, 43 percent of minors said that they had been victims of some form of violence. During 2003, 300 criminal cases were opened against parents for neglect of parental duties. The majority of complaints of abuse of children related to child prostitution, pornographic video sales, child molestation, and illegal child labor.

The commercial sexual exploitation of children remained a serious problem. According to domestic and foreign law enforcement officials, a significant portion of the child pornography available on the Internet continued to originate in Ukraine.

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