Prostitution in Russia

Prostitution in Russia

Prostitution in Russia is illegal, but is not a serious crime. The maximum punishment is a fine up to 2000 rub; however, organizing prostitution is punishable by a prison term.

Historic overview

Prostitution in Russia became common after Peter The Great's military reforms that created a sizable class of unmarried men who were serving in military. These soldiers started generating a demand for prostitution.

Monarchs who followed Peter I, had different approaches to prostitution, ranging from complete abolition to decriminalization.

By the late 19th century, prostitution was legal in the Russian Empire. Numerous brothels existed in most cities, ranging greatly in class and prices. Customer included diverse groups ranging from aristocraty to working class. Legally, only women were allowed to own borthels. However, illegal street prostitution was still dominated by male pimps. The term "kot" ( _ru. кот, cat) was used for a male pimp, while female pimp was referred to as "bandersha" ( _ru. бандерша).

Prostitution has been illegal in Russia since the establishment of the Soviet Union. However, during the post-Soviet years this industry experienced significant growth.


"Tochka" (точка) is a popular euphemism for an outdoor market for prostitutes in Moscow and other large Russian cities, a word literally meaning 'point' or 'location' in Russian. (The word "tochka" may also be used in many other contexts. Its usage is originated from the notion "a point on the map". Initially it was used in military and geologist slang to denote, e.g., a military or geologist base or other specific location. Over time its usages was expanded. For example, in alcoholics' parlance, a "tochka" is a place where vodka is sold.)

Some women are forced to work as sex slaves. The decomposing bodies of 30 females were found in Russian town of Nizhny Tagil. They were kidnapped by a gang and murdered for refusal to work as prostitutes according to investigators [ [,,2010473,00.html Over four years Urals gang killed 30 women taken for a 'picnic'] , by Tom Parfitt, February 11, 2007, Guardian Unlimited ]

Moscow city government actions

The Moscow city government has made many noticeable attempts to eliminate prostitution in Russia and there is serious jail time for prostitution to eliminate these markets, other than to eliminate some of the more obvious points along Tverskaya, Moscow's main avenue. Tochkas are controlled by organized criminal gangs that bribe local police departments in order to remain in business. Instead, the city police randomly check the documents of women travelling alone after dark. For this reason, prostitutes often carry a hundred rubles with which to bribe the police. [ [ Nyet to Trafficking] ] [ [ With Prostitution Booming, Legalization Tempts Russia] ] [ [ Prostitution in Russia] ] [ [ Russia's sex slave industry thrives, rights groups say] ] [ [ Moscow targets sex trade at last] ]

Child prostitution, forced prostitution, and the trafficking of women

A 2006 report by World Vision Middle East/Eastern Europe funded by the Canadian government and supported by six United Nations agencies and the International Organization for Migration reported that the sexual exploitation of children, child trafficking and sexual violence towards minors is increasing and that Russia is becoming a new destination for child sex tourism. The report adds that some studies claim approximately 20 per cent to 25 per cent of Moscow's sex workers are minors.

Russia is a major source of women trafficked globally for the purpose of sexual exploitation [ [ Authorities turn blind eye on Far East Russia women trafficking] ] . Russia is also a significant destination and transit country for persons trafficked for sexual and labor exploitation from regional and neighboring countries into Russia, and on to the Persian Gulf states, Europe, Asia, and North America. [ [ Sex worker on trial for abortion] ] [ [ Russian girls trapped in sex-slave nightmare] ] Annually, thousands of Russian women end up as prostitutes in China, Japan or South Korea. [ [ Police bring home 3 sex slaves from China] ] Bars in major Chinese cities now offer blond, blue-eyed Russian "hostesses," while in Tokyo, Russian girls are the latest addition to the menu in fancy "hostess" bars. In Tel Aviv the number of brothels has skyrocketed in five years from 30 to 150 -- largely because of an influx of Russians into Israel. [ [,9171,1101930621-161939,00.html The Skin Trade] ] . In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Russian women make up most of the prostitutes in the country. Thousands of Russian women (not all of them from Russia - many come from other, poorer, former Soviet republics) prostitute in Dubai.

The ILO estimates that 20 percent of the five million illegal immigrants in Russia are victims of forced labor, which is a form of trafficking. There were reports of trafficking of children and of child sex tourism in Russia. The Government of Russia has made some effort to combat trafficking but has also been criticized for not complying with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. [ [ Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery] ]

A large case of forced prostitution and mass murder was uncovered in 2007 near the industrial town of Nizhny Tagil. A gang of pimps had abducted girls and forced them to work as prostitutes in their brothel, killing the ones who refused. A mass grave with up to 30 victims was found. (See: Nizhny Tagil mass murder (2002-2007).)


External links

* [ Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery - Russia - University of Massachusetts resource]
* [ Child prostitution - Russia - University of Massachusetts resource]
* [ Russian women fall prey to sex slavery abroad]
* [ Police bring home 3 sex slaves from China]

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