Sex recruiters hit Russia’s towns. Part 1

KP journalists decided to find out just how strictly the law treats the adult-services industry

Russia’s evening news programs occasionally report how the police uncovered the latest bordello after a series of detailed investigations. However, advertisements for adult services are on the rise. Dens of debauchery tempting grown men to spend unforgettable evenings with young blonds close down only to reappear in seeming franchise. Who opens these establishments? And why? Russian legislation envisages prison time for luring individuals into prostitution. So is the law negligible? KP decided to take an inside look at Russia’s prostitution ring to find out. Police statistics show that most prostitutes arrive to the capital from the regions, so KP headed to small cities and towns.

Work or play? Leisure or employment?

Ivanovo is a small austere city that is fairly clean and devoid of outward signs of moral decay. After a look around, our first step was to rent a two-room apartment near Lenin Square. The price: 2,000 rubles per day.

After settling in, we studied the local sex-services industry by flipping through the newspapers. Adult advertisements are usually printed in the “Leisure” section in most Russian cities, but here we found them in the “Seeking Employment” section. Although the easy explanation is that Ivanovo residents consider prostitution to be more work than play, we learned that advertising sex services is prohibited in the city. The loophole is to place an advertisement as an individual looking for employment. For some reason the city finds this method easier to swallow. The city avoids getting a poor reputation and women in the industry are not left without a job.

“Young lady, 18 years old, neat and attractive. Thin without complexes. Looking for highly paid work in the services sector at a time suitable for you.” And adjacent to that advertisement: “Chief engineer looking for highly paid work,” “Driver without bad habits and a new vehicle looking for work,” “Female, aged 35, real estate agent, tidy, looking for work. Will consider all proposals.” It is not hard to guess who is offering real skills outside the bedroom and who is mattress bound.

“We’d like to offer you some highly paid work,” said KP journalist Aleksandr Meshkov in his soft velvety baritone.

“We’ve got a brunette for 1,600 rubles per hour. Height 180 centimeters. B-cup,” the managers told us over the phone yawning intermittently.

“But is she attractive at least?” we asked hopefully.

“She’s ordinary, but keeps clean. If you’re looking for beauties straight off magazine covers then you’re knocking on the wrong door,” they said.

Understood. So we placed an advertisement in the local papers that said the Moscow firm “Etual” was inviting young women for VIP work in the leisure sector in Moscow. And all we had to do was sit back and wait for the calls.

Mandates for deputies

We should mention that we took a huge risk in placing that advertisement. Legislation foresees administrative punishment for prostitution and criminal punishment for luring an individual into the trade. So we sat watching the clock, waiting for the cops to send in a tall-legged undercover agent. The phone did not ring all Saturday morning until lunchtime. It was not long, though, before the calls started coming in.

“What type of VIP work is this?” the interested female applicants asked us feigning naivety.

“Are you fit? We have very high standards,” we asked.

“We’re in great shape,” they giggled.

We told them that they would service the higher echelons of the power structures, leaders of political parties, social movements, public prosecutors and deputies. Although some girls lost interest when they found out they would have to provide sex services, others were curious to learn more details about where they would work and how much they would make. We listed the women interested in attending our casting session and allocated them one hour apiece.

By the evening, our apartment had transformed into a little jubilant political headquarters with a spot of eroticism. The girls differed in color, size and temperament. Some sat gloomily and stared at us suspiciously with their heads down and answered “yes” or “no.” Others grabbed a glass of Martini, told us about themselves and were in no rush to leave our humble seraglio. The majority refused to be photographed and said that they were secretive about their work. READ MORE

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