KyivPost

Pedophiles find Ukraine a good place to roam

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March 4, 2009, 9:40 p.m. | Ukraine — by Iryna Sandul
Nobody knows the depth of the problem, but nation is seen as a hotbed of child pornography, sexual abuse. Pedophiles roam where they can sexually abuse children with impunity. Unfortunately, Ukraine – with its lax law enforcement, shaky economy and endemic corruption – may provide just the haven they seek.

“It’s very widespread,” said Walid Harfouch, publisher of Kyiv’s Paparazzi magazine and a leading socialite.

The depth of the problem, however, is hard to gauge. From time to time, stories emerge that hint at a strong appetite among adults – including some members of the nation’s political elite -- for sex with children.

One story that got recent publicity involved an investigation into a rumored sexual relationship between a Kyiv city official and a teenage girl younger than 16, the legal age of consent. The case ended after the official publicly denied the accusation, the purported victim withdrew her police testimony and the girl’s father refused to discuss the case.

Politicians at the highest levels have failed to adopt tough laws that require long prison terms for pedophiles, human rights activists say. Victoria Velychko, head of the All-Ukrainian Public Organization for Equal Rights, said the nation’s laws were among the weakest when it came to punishing sexual violence against children.

“When we tried to increase criminal punishment for [sex with] children to a minimum of seven years incarceration, we simply could not push through this draft law,” Velychko said. In 2005, non-governmental organizations drafted a national plan based on the United Nations Convention for Children’s Rights. But it went nowhere in parliament, Velychko said.

Other documented incidents suggest that pedophilia is taking a huge toll on countless numbers of the nation’s children – and, consequently, on the future of Ukraine itself. Internationally, Ukraine has been known for many years as a leading source of child pornography.

A few examples:

The 2008 human rights report by the U.S. State Department, the most recent available, finds that “commercial sexual exploitation of children remained a serious problem. According to domestic and foreign law enforcement officials, a significant portion of Internet child pornography continued to originate from the country.”

There were no reported developments in the November 2007 Europol operation that uncovered a worldwide child sex offender network, including pornographic material produced in a studio in Ukraine, according to the same State Department report. An Italian man was arrested in the case.

“Corruption in the judiciary and police continued to impede the government’s ability to combat trafficking. NGOs asserted that local police and border guards took bribes to ignore trafficking, and judges did so in return for lighter sentences,” according to the State Department. “The low number of prosecutions of officials for trafficking related corruption raised questions about the government’s willingness to take serious disciplinary action, especially against high level officials. Anti-trafficking experts noted that prosecutors were often the weakest link in the fight against trafficking due to their negative stereotypes of victims and their failure to prosecute aggressively.”

If there is any good news, it is that the number of children trafficked abroad for sexual exploitation may not be large.

The International Organization for Migration has tried to quantify the problem, but its numbers are mere estimates. Based on a 2006 survey, the organization estimated that 80 percent of 117,000 Ukrainians trafficked abroad were exploited as cheap labor. If correct, the organization’s estimate means that an average of 1,300 Ukrainian adults and children each year were exploited abroad for sexual and other reasons.

But experts say that most reported cases of pedophilia never get investigated, let alone prosecuted. Even if convicted, pedophiles get up to three years in prison for the first offense and up to five for repeat offenses. By contrast, in Britain, first-time offenders get 14 years.

The criminal code sets the age of consent at 16, but human rights activists say weak enforcement makes Ukraine easy pickings for pedophiles.

The nation’s high poverty rate doesn’t help either. Predators find that paying a child for sex can be much cheaper than paying for an escort. Candy or food can be enough for sexual contact or a homemade porn film. Homeless and poor children are particularly vulnerable.

“In our country there is no notion of child pornography,” said Olha Shved, manager of an international organization for preventing child prostitution. “If [a sexual predator] pays children Hr 100, the law does not consider it coercion. When they’re asked ‘Were you forced or beaten?’ the kids say ‘We were paid for it.’ So, it fails to be a forcible action.”

According to the Interior Ministry, 303 cases of sexual abuse of children were registered in 2008, up from 251 in 2007. There were also 851 crimes related to the import, production and sale of pornography, including child pornography – up from 811 the year before. Last year, officials uncovered 37 human trafficking cases involving children and teenagers.

Shved said every third Ukrainian prostitute is a girl between 12 and 17, most of whom were abused at home first either physically or sexually. Despite frequent police raids, buying a child porn movie is easy.

At the capital’s biggest media market, Petrivka, a DVD salesman at a stall displaying ladies with watermelon-like breasts squats down next to a cardboard box to demonstrate its contents. Asked whether he had something with under-age actors, he said, with his eyes shifting: “Well, it goes for Hr 250. And it depends on what you need.”

Asked what age the children were, he said: “There is stuff with 8- to 12-year-olds, and 12 to 14. The price is the same.” He said the children were from Dnipropetrovsk, Moscow and St. Petersburg.

“For every [United States] dollar invested by those who deal with child pornography, they get between $500 and $1,000 in profit. All they do is buy a camera and hook up to the Internet,” said Shved.

Shved, whose organization fights child prostitution, has a painting by a Kyiv artist purchased on Andriyivskiy Uzviv, a popular tourist spot in Kyiv. The painting depicts a girl dressed in a Soviet pioneer outfit – the youth wing of the Communist Party – with her dress hiked up, exposing white underwear and spread legs.

Shved referred to the case in 2007 in which eight child porn producers started three child modeling agencies in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Simferopol. They selected girls between ages 8 and 16, and signed modeling contracts with their parents. But in reality they were operating a porn studio.

“They were filming with candid cameras in the toilets and changing rooms. Some data suggested there were 500 victims, others up to 1,500. They earned $100,000 per month by putting out CDs and [broadcasting] on the Internet,” she said. “The criminal code envisages three to seven years in prison as punishment for this. Nobody received it.”
The Kyiv Post is hosting comments to foster lively debate. Criticism is fine, but stick to the issues. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks will be removed from the site. If you think that a posted comment violates these standards, please flag it and alert us. We will take steps to block violators.
Anonymous March 4, 2009, 11:58 p.m.    

So sad.... And you see people say proudly that young women in Ukraine are the most beautiful... (( Ukraine is to become Africa if we don't stop it....

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Anonymous March 5, 2009, 12:21 a.m.    

Slawa Ukraina!

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Anonymous March 5, 2009, 3:24 a.m.    

My God this is terrible. Tymoshenko and Yuschenko should be shot for allowing this to happen.

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Anonymous March 5, 2009, 9:38 p.m.    

Tymoshenko and Yuschenko should not be made scapegoats for what the parents of these children should be doing , wich is being parents to their kids, also every law enforcement official and every person living in Ukraine is to blame for this, Ukraine is the most corrupt place i have visited, when will some say enough already , im sick of ukrainians telling me that it is scientific fact that they are of superior intelligence!!! please it makes me want to slap the crap out the person telling me this load of garbage. Everytime a Ukraine pays a bribe and every time a Ukrainian takes a bribe you contribute to the decay of society, and for the parents who choosenot to pursue the people wo have abused your child, SHAME THE FUCK ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!! you might as well dropped your kids of at the making of such filth. so please all of Ukraine stop talking about how SMART you are!!! and do something about your society

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Yulia Blindyuk March 6, 2009, 1:34 p.m.    

please feel free to express your opinion with respect to your opponents and other readers. all comments with obscene language and/or direct insults will be deleted, no matter whose side the writer chooses.

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Anonymous March 5, 2009, 5:12 a.m.    

The people of Ukraine, not just its leaders, allow this sordid behavior to happen. Leaders come from the people, whether one likes it or not. Letting pedophiles take advantage of your nation's kids--that's a failure of the Ukrainian 'narod'. No one gives a damn, or is willing to stand up to the monsters or their enablers in Ukraine who permit this to happen. Sad, but preventable. That's the real tragedy.

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Anonymous March 5, 2009, 2:43 p.m.    

Is truth. I tell college girl that wife not sleeping with me, she ask why I not seduce 13-year-old daughter!?! Is normal for Ukrainian woman to think such may be done? I tell her I love daughter, know that sex is bad for children, young body not ready to risk pregnancy, body and soul should not risk abort, read many reports that say such incest ruins entire life of children, that I love daughter and would rather be in jail. But my point is that 25 year old Ukrainian woman thinks is normal for man, even father, to be such criminal! Such monster! Such sinner! Unless morals of people are first improved, how can we expect good leaders to come from people?

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Jordan Hill March 9, 2009, 3:17 a.m.    

Perhaps you should hook up with the college girl! But anyway, you say 'know', but do you? So many people think they 'know' stuff based on supposition alone. We barely know what may be good or bad for our self, much less others.

Why do people cite pregnancy as a reason when it is avoidable? Furthermore 'ruins entire life' is simply wrong, spreading that myth inflates victimization and makes those who suffer feel like they cannot heal from things.

'Sinner' is relative to religion which many do not follow, and furthermore back in bible days girls would marry young (like 13) and sex within marriage then would not be sin, so it is a separate issue of marri-age, not age. There are no monsters, only humans and things which humans abhor about one another.

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Jordan Hill March 9, 2009, 3:13 a.m.    

I think it is extreme to advocate shooting someone for 'allowing something'. This is 'negligence'. It is not abuse or actively contributing. If a politician does a bad job, do not vote for them, or if you want them out of office immediately, vote to impeach. It is shocking to me how people casually advocate violence like this.

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Anonymous March 5, 2009, 3:46 a.m.    

Whilever people are starving they will resort to this kind of behaivour.That is the parents of these poor kids,with the lack of positive prosecutions this has to be the case.It is sad that a woman I once knew had to give sexual favours to pay for her usual Taxi ride. A programme of awareness is desperaly needed to protect these innocent kids against these predetors.

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Jordan Hill March 9, 2009, 3:18 a.m.    

I can't speak for others, but if it was a choice between starving and prostituting myself, I would not choose to die of starvation, understand? People should focus on fulfilling people's needs so they do not find other means to fulfill them.

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Anonymous March 5, 2009, 9:27 a.m.    

Consensual attractive adult women are all you need for sex.

Those who seek kids are monsters, in the same genetic line as homosexuals and sex with animals.

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Anonymous March 5, 2009, 11:13 a.m.    

castration comes to mind

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Jordan Hill March 9, 2009, 3:19 a.m.    

That is barbaric, and that only alters hormonal chemistry. You do not fully understand the issue, eunichs can also molest/rape/break the law.

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Anonymous March 5, 2009, 1:07 p.m.    

you should what has become of refugees in the middle east since the war.. Syria, many border countries don't even care if the girl is an immigrant.. even some family's send their underage daughters to becomes dancers, prostitutes to make some money.. it really goes on everywhere.. bigger problem than in Ukraine.. compared, Ukraine has a minor problem..

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Anonymous March 5, 2009, 1:45 p.m.    

That explains why there are so many aging foreigners living there

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Anonymous March 5, 2009, 2:38 p.m.    

Yes, in their home countries the police is looking for them - but Ukraine is their Pedophile's paradise.

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Jordan Hill March 9, 2009, 3:20 a.m.    

I wonder why you two say 'aging' foreigners, can young foreigners not also be culpable?

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Anonymous March 5, 2009, 5:49 p.m.    

Interestingly Kyiv Post has advertisements for 'massage' services. And, its collection of websites are even worse it the offerings.

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Anonymous March 5, 2009, 5:57 p.m.    

Something this article hinted at but was not addressed - and really isn't but SHOULD BE - is what role the Internats (orphanages for children ages 7-16) are playing in this. As someone who works in the humanitarian aid sector, I can tell you that there is substantial anecdotal information out there that many girls are being 'sent away' from their internat on weekends, for weeks sometimes, for these reasons - to 'service' older men, perhaps be part of porn production, etc. Corrupt directors allow it to happen because they profit in some cases; in other cases it is other adults working in or with the internat who are setting this up. Then there is the issue of what happens with these kids when they age out at 16 - with little or no support system, terrible education, no job prospects - what else will they do? Traffickers and also those running prostitution and porn rings within the country know this. (continued...)

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Jordan Hill March 9, 2009, 3:21 a.m.    

That is worrisome, I would hope that Internats (this is easy to confuse with Internet) like that would be shut down. That is a total exploitation of that person's role as a guardian. One should not be in the orphanage business to make money. It is also worrisome when they do not nurture enough or provide enough opportunities or incentive to learn and be educated.

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Anonymous March 5, 2009, 6:01 p.m.    

(continued from below!) They target specific girls (often with inside info from employees, on who might be more compliant, who is most desperate, who has no extended family, etc.) to 'bring in' when they are put out of the internat at 16. When international aid workers, advocates, Ukrainians who are involved with relief work in these internats, etc., have brought these suspicions to authorities, either nothing is done...or in some cases the children in question have been moved, sometimes to dubious 'foster care' and disappear. Local authorities and prosecutors just simply don't care - the article is right to say that prejudice and assumed 'low status' of victims (especially orphans) is a major factor. And of course corruption and payoffs. There is a lot of money to be made. Truly horrendous, and with the economic crisis in Ukraine, this problem (especially for orphans) will only increase in the forseeable future...Everyone is turning a blind eye to what is happening to these orphans.

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Anonymous March 5, 2009, 11:18 p.m.    

Constantly blaming that they are poor or the old foreign perverts or internet users and producers is just part of the problem. It take 2 to Tango. Its a morality issue. Check out the net how many legal aged 18 and over girls advertise doing x,y and z. I spoke to a few in the course of clubbing in Ukraine and most are no longer poor. Their problem is that as many in society as whole. They want their Benz car, Dolce Gabbana clothing now. Many girls in this racket have these things along with an expensive apartment they bought themselves. They have no regrets whatsoever in how they made their money and certainly tell their younger sisters how they "made it". I had one girl I met in her mid-20's tell me she did porn without any shame whatsoever and then showed me a picture of her beautiful 16 year old sister telling me how she was teaching her the trade. Morality starts at home. Its like cocaine, you can't just go after the users you also have to blame the producers...don't you?

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Anonymous March 7, 2009, 8:16 a.m.    

Right into the point!

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Jordan Hill March 9, 2009, 3:23 a.m.    

People should be free to be 'immoral' if they wish to. This is a separate issue here, of illegal behaviours and things. I share your opinion, there are many who consent and stuff, I am not as worried about that as those who do not and are doing so for survival or out of fear or knowing nothing else.

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Anonymous March 6, 2009, 12:26 p.m.    

The government has no laws in place to guard the safety and welfare of it's children. Adults turn a blind eye to inmorality and think immoral sexual behavior is normal in teenagers thus they behave this way as adults.....it is a vicious circle. Until people stand up for the rights of CHILDREN and adults begin to live and teach moral behavior this will continue. It is sad, pathetic and unneeded. In no way should a teenage girl be BLAMED for such behavior. She is the victim.

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Jordan Hill March 9, 2009, 3:24 a.m.    

It is fine to teach people morality, it is another to obligate them to obey it like a law. You say 'immoral' sexual behaviour, does that imply there is a 'moral' kind?

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Anonymous March 6, 2009, 5:04 p.m.    

I don't like reading articles like this. It makes me sick. But, we cannot bury our heads in the sand. We must be aware and issues such as these, must be publicized. There should be no tolerance anywhere for pedophiles.

This is one of the great advantages of a free press. It does not sweep under the carpet the things that the people need to be aware of, whether it is re: pedophiles, corruption, etc. A free press keeps everyone alert.

My compliments to the Kyiv Post for publishing this article.

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Anonymous March 7, 2009, 9:45 p.m.    

Have you ever thought that pedophiles are people, and that many of them are way less aggressive then you?

Would you hate those who have HIV just because they have it? Or would you do something to help those people?

Good friend of mine have problems with child pornography that he came across ones on the internet and then stuck to it . He does love little girls , as well as adult women, an he is a very nice person.

If one would be hurting a child, he would be the first to defend that child.

So, no tolerance should have blind people like you who don't bother themselves to dig deeper.

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Anonymous March 9, 2009, 10:49 p.m.    

There is a question of moral and legal obligations. Our society has rightly placed boundaries on the innocence of children and to prevent sexual exploitation. This is not about mixed up emotions of love, and humanity it is more to do with unbridled sexual desire and crime and money. Most people are attracted to the innocence of children and a healthy society should facilitate a caring and loving relationships BUT that does not and should not translate into a sexual act. There are boundaries that a civil society must accept. The saddest aspect is the lack of trust that begins to effect the way in which we perceive even the kindest of sincere intentions. Any allegation of sex with children must be properly considered and care needs to be taken to ensure that the innocent are protected (Both Children and adults) from this breach of moral ethics.

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Jordan Hill March 9, 2009, 3:27 a.m.    

AU: I believe the person you are replying to, he was talking about those who want something, not those who go beyond wanting into doing things which cause emotional/medical/physical suffering. Jail is appropriate for those who break the law: castration currently isn't. If you would like to advocate this, please start by advocating it for the murderers. Once it is acceptable to them, only then should people explore such barbaric punishments for crimes not as bad as murder. I am annoyed how so few call for the castration of child-murderers, or even adult-murderers who make orphans of children. Is this truly for their welfare?

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Anonymous March 8, 2009, 5:59 p.m.    

This attitude totally disgusts me. Never mind the hurt feelings of some sick SOB who wants sex with children. What about the emotional, medical and physical abuse of these children. Sadly, Ukraine is not particularly alone in this. It happens in Canada, USA, UK, Western Europe, probably as much or more. Jail accompanied by physical castration for these sick ba***rds.

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Anonymous March 10, 2009, 1:42 a.m.    

A totally barbaric attitude.

You sure you're note Muscovite???

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Anonymous March 10, 2009, 1:54 a.m.    

"A totally barbaric attitude.

You sure you're note Muscovite??? "

You meant to say "not" ??? :)

But, I do agree with your opinion...

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Anonymous March 8, 2009, 4:46 p.m.    

You are about 10 years out of date.

NLO

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Anonymous March 11, 2009, 5:28 p.m.    

WTF???

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Anonymous March 9, 2009, 1:42 a.m.    

Y'know, as someone who has actively worked within the paederotic community for several years, and gives most of their daily life for the military advancement of the paederotic cause - Mr/s Sandul's article is the first anyone has ever told me that "we" find Ukraine to be a liberal hotbed of equality regardles of status.

Isn't that a bit suspicious, when "pedophiles" don't know what "pedophiles" say, and some hack excuse for a journalist scoops them - on their own damned culture? I mean... what are the chances?

Keep on keeping us informed of what "we" say, think, and believe, even if you have to keep making shit up. In the meantime, I will continue my holy work with the firebomb, and with the gun...

Good day.

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Jordan Hill March 9, 2009, 3:29 a.m.    

Military advancement? You sir, sound very scary. If this is a cause about people who say they care about kids above and beyond finding them attractive, then the core root of any cause motivated by love should be to advocate welfare for children, not welfare for paedoerotics. Please do not use violence such as bombs and guns, this will not solve the problem which is rooted in differences of opinion. It is a barbaric means to resolve things.

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Anonymous March 9, 2009, 6:01 a.m.    

How "scary" or "unscary" I sound is not particularly my concern - nor is the matter a question of 'for' or 'against' "teh childrens" - who are seldom enough consulted by the people who take up their "cause" anyway.

This is a simple question of tit-for-tat. Nothing more, nothing less. Twenty one died in our action in western Australia this year. Twenty one of our own were avenged. We would not wish to avenge more than has been taken from us - but so, too, the one thing an eye for an eye brings is a sense of balance.

That balance is a balance desperately needed in a time in history so precariously hostile to human rights. Indeed, sadly, the implementation of a precise tit-for-tat strategy is the ONLY thing which can function in such times.

Sadly, order is all that keeps the beast of genocide at bay. Would that humans had more in their heart than the lesson that history has shown, but until then, the implementation and maintenance of order is all that remains, at 1:1 parity.

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Jordan Hill March 9, 2009, 3:10 a.m.    

This is a misuse of terminology to call men having sex with girls under 16 pedophiles. Many girls under 16 are pubescent, and pedophilia is psychofixation on prepubescents. It would be more correct to call them 'statutory rapists' or 'statutory molesters'.

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Anonymous March 9, 2009, 10:30 p.m.    

Sorry but sex with a person under the age of consent is a breach of moral and legal codes. Yes each case needs to be properly assessed and educated and we run the risk of quickly branding someone as a being a paedophile. But exploitation and sex with a minor is a serious breach or that moral code and can not be condones. It is the same as forced slavery and exploitation of children. Ukraine,like any poor nation, is subject to the perverse lawlessness of those who are psychological imbalanced. I know a number of US expats who have been living in Ukraine for close to a decade and whose reasons for being there are highly questionable.Some have been exposed and others are about to be exposed. Some give a front of being engaged in the fight to protect Children's rights. Ukraine MUST act to protect the rights of children and prevent captive exploitation. Tighter immigration control and review of Foreign involvement is essential.

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Anonymous March 10, 2009, 1:48 a.m.    

"Sorry but sex with a person under the age of consent is a breach of moral and legal codes"

It's a breach of legal codes, not moral, for every person has his/her own moral rules he or she is following.

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Anonymous March 9, 2009, 10:32 p.m.    

Ukraine needs a tighter means of registration of NGO organisations and vetting by national governments to ensure that those who have a criminal record and who are on the Sex Offenders list and who have committed crimes against children are restricted from travel and residency in Ukraine.

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Anonymous March 10, 2009, 8:27 a.m.    

That wouldn't exactly do much. Border infiltration and safehouse establishment are among the most rudimentary of military operations.

It'd be about as effective as trying to control the drug trade. Except with trained professional networks rather than every schmuck who wanted to get rich quick.

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Anonymous March 9, 2009, 10:38 p.m.    

David Gainer (a.k.a. David Garnier, David Gaynor and David Gable) and other US Expats who are convicted sex offenders exposed. http://www.ukrainewifenow.info.

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Anonymous March 10, 2009, 4:37 a.m.    

To love someone,means to make one happy.

To hate those who love somebody, means to be left of any fillings of beauty and harmony.

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Anonymous March 10, 2009, 8:48 p.m.    

well, its not the article that makes me sick (someone wrote here that it makes him sick), but looking at this shit...

A dedicated dancer and club-goer (me) is getting very, very sick and disgusted from what I see in places like Avalon.... 50-year-old guys with minors who look like they have just started having their period.... and I was ok observing sugardaddies and model-lloking ukr girls, but when its abut teens its really ugly.....(((( makes me very sad......

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Anonymous March 11, 2009, 2:14 a.m.    

Paedophilia is a sexual attraction to children which is shared by up to 33% of men (see http://www.attractedtochildren.org/2007/occurrence-of-paedophilia-in-the-general-population). Furthermore, most child molesters are not paedophiles, rather they are situational offenders (often parents).

Using the term "paedophile" to refer to child sex offenders simply causes confusion

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