Irish escort site offered ‘war fantasy’ sex with Ukrainian women
May 20 2022 12:18 AM
An Irish escort website encouraged men to live out their “war-inspired” fantasies by paying for sex with Ukrainian women.
A European anti-trafficking expert warned that the Irish sex work “market” was already responding to increased demand from men to “identify and have sex with” women and girls who were fleeing the conflict.
Valiant Richey, a special representative from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), was speaking at a National Women’s Council event yesterday.
He said around the time that a mass movement of vulnerable Ukrainian women and girls were moving across Europe, there was a “significant spike” in online searches “related to buying sex from Ukrainian women”.
Mr Richey, an anti-trafficking co-ordinator, said in some countries search terms relating specifically to having sex with Ukrainian women “went up by 600pc”.
“In other words, one of the early and measurable reactions in Europe to the crisis were attempts by men to identify and have sex with women and girls fleeing the conflict,” Mr Richey said.
“The influx of vulnerable women and girls into Western Europe led to an immediate increase in interest by men in exploiting them.”
He said the increased demand from men to have sex with Ukrainian women would serve as a “strong incentive” for human traffickers to trap and exploit the women.
“And indeed, we are already seeing the market responding. 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, adding that the same website had reported a 250pc increase in searches for Ukrainian women.
The prominent escort website has since deleted parts of a blog post where it discussed a “significant increase in interest in Ukrainian escorts”.
The blog post had tried to argue that it would be better to seek out a Ukrainian escort in Ireland than to look for porn featuring Ukrainian women.
“It’s a much more ethical and most importantly consensual and healthy way to live out any war-inspired fantasy than exploiting real life misfortune of others,” it said, while also claiming using Ukrainian escorts was a better way to show “solidarity” with Ukrainian people.
Of a number of Ukrainian profiles on the website, many are from women who say they are new to the area.
The website did not respond to requests for comment.
Mr Richey was one of a number of panellists speaking at an online event discussing trafficking, prostitution and sexual exploitation in the context of the war in Ukraine.
He also warned that people making informal arrangements on social networks to house refugees could also leave women and girls vulnerable to exploitation.
The Red Cross received thousands of offers of accommodation from Irish people as soon as the conflict broke out in Ukraine.
However, long delays have meant that some people who offered spare rooms have still not been vetted or had their accommodation inspected.
This has led to some people using large public Facebook groups to offer accommodation to Ukrainians who have already arrived in Ireland and are in need of a place to stay.
Mr Richey said it was important to “celebrate the tremendous response” from people all over Europe who offered their homes to Ukrainians.
“The challenge, of course, is making sure that people are safe,” he added.
Mr Richey said that the OSCE recommended the use of a formal registration system, where those offering accommodation could be vetted.