“How would you like to make me ‘sugar daddy’?” “

Celebrating the 100th Anniversarye The day Russia invaded Ukraine, duty Focuses on the invisible victims of the conflict: Ukrainian women who have gone into exile, victims of sexual and financial exploitation.

Canadians are taking advantage of volunteer-run Facebook self-help groups to offer housing to Ukrainian women in exchange for a romantic relationship, forced labor, or…explicit sex.

“Hey beautiful, how would you like to be? sugar dad ? “Messages of this nature, Ukrainian Katerina Adamchuk received several. However, in her message posted on the very popular Canadian Facebook group Host Ukrainians / Hébergeons les Ukrainiens, this trained psychologist asked for nothing more than temporary accommodation for her little girl and aunt, time to settle down Away from war, looking for a better life.

“Messages like that, I’ve blocked and deleted many of them,” he explained. Should The young woman in her twenties is about to settle down with a family in Abitepe. “Fortunately, I had some that came from very good people.”

However, of the twenty letters she received in total, some particularly shocked her. “Many men wrote to me that they wanted to put me in, but without my daughter and my aunt. They wanted to be paid for sex,” she says, adding that some of the requests weren’t subtle at all. The sugar dad Already mentioned he was offering her $200 a day just to “pamper” and “pamper” her. ” nothing sexy He wrote in his message in English from a Facebook account that displays several photos of a man who proudly shows his muscles, topless.

Other people, who offered him “freedom” to come and live with them in their palatial homes, became very insistent when he refused. “I was told that Amos was not a good city, and that I was stupid for wanting to go there. The women also wrote to Katrina Adamchuk offering them to live with them if she did the housework and meals for the whole family.”

“I received messages from men who had pictures with children in their profiles. But there were no women anywhere. Only a mature man and children. I did not feel safe,” says the married Ukrainian.

On the other hand, if she is suspicious most of the time, she narrates that she exchanged with a man who proved to be very determined to go and live with him. He asked her many questions without answering them. He became rude and made no secret of his desire to have sex with her. “He made me feel like I owed him something,” she said, saying she regretted giving him some personal information.

duty He managed to get his hands on screenshots of private exchanges with “suspicious” accounts, containing rare photos and little information, on unorganized Facebook groups.

Some of these exchanges testified as clearly as possible to the intentions of their authors. A Quebecer wrote: “I like you and I want a romantic relationship with you.” To a Ukrainian woman who asked for help paying for a plane ticket, a man replied that it would be possible if she accepted a “serious romantic relationship” with him. Another explicit marriage was suggested to facilitate paperwork.

Good Samaritan or ravenous?

The phenomenon is well known in Europe. Several groups fighting sexual exploitation have publicly alerted the authorities, denouncing the dangers to Ukrainian refugees on these Facebook groups, compared to “Tinder for sexual predators”. In the United Kingdom, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has criticized the Homes for Ukraine programme, which grants residence permits to Ukrainians who must be sponsored by citizens or organizations, for opening the way for exploiters.

In Canada, the Emergency Travel Permit between Canada and Ukraine (AVUCU), which grants a three-year residence permit to work or study, is not required by sponsorship. But this does not prevent Ukrainians from searching extensively on social networks for a family of good Samaritans who can accommodate them or help them find work in Quebec or elsewhere in Canada.

Since the start of the self-help group, at the end of February, the volunteer moderators of the Host Ukrainians/Hébergeons les Ukrainiens group have had to quickly intervene in the face of some slip-up. Under the appearance of benevolent people, some had features of stalkers. “I don’t know if these are real predators, but cases where single men lure women, this is very common,” said Montrealer Karyna Alyeksyeyeva, one of the main administrators of the group, which today has more than 86,000 members.

It’s hard to gauge the extent of this phenomenon, because “it’s rare for absolutely inappropriate comments to be written in public,” she said. We are aware of the issue, but it occurs mainly in private messages. We have no control over that. »

For her, it’s not about judging anyone, it’s about not distorting the goals of the group. “We don’t want to be a platform for that. We don’t want to put anyone at risk either, there are vulnerable people out there.”

A form of vigilance

With her group of about thirty moderators, she audits hundreds of messages daily. While the vast majority are approved, some — whether it’s a guy looking for a soul mate or someone offering housing for unpaid work — get dumped on the spot. “Posts are not necessarily illegal. There is a gray area,” notes MI Alyeksyeyeva, who insists that the vast majority of people in the Facebook group mean OK. But the size is too big. There is no effective way to deal with it. »

Each new member of the group receives a document titled “Security Guidelines for Host-Ukrainian Matching”. “Like any other initiative aimed at helping Ukrainians, this group poses certain risks in terms of human trafficking activities,” the officials wrote, urging people to be vigilant. In particular, Ukrainians are advised not to hesitate to ask questions and demand proof of identity from the future host, and for the latter to voluntarily provide this information for the convenience of the other party.

Brokers are also very active. duty She was able to see that they were very quick to issue warnings under the posts of young Ukrainian women saying that they were looking for a home. “Without wanting to generalize, let’s say that Ukrainian women often put up very beautiful pictures of themselves, which, let’s say, will be able to be an attraction for single men,” notes the lady.I Alexeva.

Pinned publications also warn of potential predators. “Think before offering offers of sexual adoption or any other form of exploitation to women in Ukraine. Not only is this wrong, but you never know who you are talking to or whether you are being monitored by law enforcement.”

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