[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_title size=”2″]A Global Perspective — Russia[/fusion_title]
Sex for 10.000 rubles: child prostitution thrives in Petersburg
After a deputy of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly was escorted from his office in handcuffs and several days later was accused of the attempted rape of a 16-year-old boy, the city newspapers were filled with items about (the alleged) “lechers in the Mariinsky Palace” [/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][the Mariinsky Palace is home to the legislative assembly], their authors savoring the details of the unsuccessful rape attempt. While in the citys newspaper printing complex editions with unproved accusations and the names of victims were coming off the presses, 12-year-old children, as before, were jumping into shiny foreign cars at the Moscow Station, to emerge half an hour later with bundles of bank notes, and the citys procuring agencies continued to supply girls and boys to their proven clientele and, as before, video cassettes with child pornography were being sold in the citys marketplaces.
On St. Petersburgs streets, 11-year-old boys sell their younger sisters to groups of drunken men for a handful of candy; their peers are engaged in oral sex for two tubes of Moment glue. Child prostitution is flourishing in St. Petersburg: no one catches non-deputy lechers.
Loitering on the streets in search of diversion, hundreds of children become the victims of perverts. According to the estimates of social workers, nearly 500 children, aged primarily 12 to 15, live permanently on the streets, spending the nights in basements and attics. Another 5,000 minors hang around on the streets during the day, leaving to spend the night not at home, but with relatives and acquaintances, or at one of the few emergency shelters. In places where children congregate (train stations, near downtown hotels, and around kiosks near outlying subway stations) people approach them with the most varied propositions.
Child prostitution is well organized: those who become pimps are, as a rule, minors themselves. They get half of each prostitutes earnings. Prices for the services of minors fluctuate from 5,000 to 50,000 rubles for oral sex; “normal” sexual intercourse costs from 30,000 to 200,000 rubles. [One dollar is worth approximately 6,000 rubles.]
The adolescents spend their earnings on marijuana, alcohol, and pills; their main form of entertainment are slot machines and video parlors. In the historical center of the city, children are admitted into porno film showings for freethe children and the parlor guards enjoy the show together.
Underage prostitutes of both sexes toil not only on the streets, but in any of the citys 250 procuring agencies as well. Its impossible to order them up by telephone: boys and girls are delivered only to tried and true clientsthe article of the criminal code that deals with inducing minors into prostitution is even more severe than the article which punishes pimping. At night, the citys bathhouses and saunas function as sexual entertainment establishments.
The unsuccessful attempt by the deputy to rape the adolescent boy is being investigated by the Regional Commission for Combating Organized Crime, which usually is occupied with cases of extortion, kidnapping, and racketeering.
Combating the other manifestations of prostitution in this city of five million is entrusted to a group of some eight police officers referred to by the populace and in the newspapers as the “vice squad.” “What do a naked ass and fascism have in common?” ask these highly moral police officers. The answer: “Nothing!” It turns out that apart from the battle with prostitution and pornography, they are also entrusted with the struggle against fascism, the illegal sale of Soviet decorations and medals, and violations of copyright.
The prostitute procurement agencies rake in multimillion ruble profitsthe officers of the vice squad earn less than a million rubles per month. One of the officers sold his car and bought himself a mobile telephone so that he could call for backup in dangerous situations.
According to police estimates, the illegal turnover from the sale of sexual services in the northern capital amounts to 12 to 18 billion rubles per year. The agencies pay out two-thirds of their income in protection money to criminal “covers.” For its part, the state, complaining about holes in the budget, doesnt receive even a kopeck from the sale of unlicensed videocassettes and is in no rush to finance the work of the vice squad officers. Since there is no money for a cleaning lady, they are obliged to clean the toilets themselves after each nights detainment of prostitutes.
Social organizations in St. Petersburg are trying to make life easier for children who live on the street. Together with Western charitable organizations, they have opened up places in the city where children can go for help. The latest of these centers was opened in early November 1996 by the organization Perspektivy, in cooperation with the Berlin organization Perspektiven and Hamburgs Diakonisches Werk.
Social workers themselves are pessimistic about the chances for preventing child prostitution. “The ones who are already involved in prostitution arent going to give it up. The only thing we can do is to distribute clothing and offer food to the children so that they dont have to sell themselves in order to earn a living,” says one social worker.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]