In 2015, 41.8% of prostituted persons reported having provided sexual acts to foreign sex buyers within the past month (more than 50% in 2013) (ICF Alliance of Public Health, 2014 and 2016). After the increase recorded in 2012-13 (on the occasion of Euro 2012, the UEFA men’s football championship), the 2015 data shows a clear loss of interest, likely correlated to the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, and the ensuing military conflict (Kyiv Post, March 8, 2018).
Nevertheless, Ukraine remains a country well known for its marriage agencies. Western men, usually middle-aged, continue to come en masse to find a young Ukrainian wife who will "be poor and easier to manage" (Vice, November 9, 2016). This is a real industry that provides income to agencies, translators, and “fiancées.” However, in reality, this so-called “marriage industry” is nothing more than sex tourism and a form of prostitution. Men buy their "fiancées" through agencies, which act as intermediaries, and who get rich in this market. For Inna Shevchenko of the NGO Femen, women are the victims: "It’s difficult for women in Ukraine to be economically independent, even though they are educated and skilled (...) Young women see, in the foreign men, a chance for a better life, a possibility to leave and escape from life-long struggle that their mothers (…) experience" (Vice, November 9, 2016). It is this hope held by Ukrainian women that the marriage industry exploits.
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