On the occasion of 100e day of Ukraine’s invasion of Russia, The duty focuses on the invisible victims of the conflict: Ukrainian women who went through the path of exile, victims of sexual and financial exploitation.
Canadians take advantage of Facebook self-help groups run by volunteers to offer accommodation to Ukrainian women in exchange for a romantic relationship, forced labor or … perfect sex.
“How am I beautiful, whatever you want me to be sugar daddy ? “Messages of this kind, Ukrainian Kateryna Adamchuk received a lot. However, in her message published by the very popular Canadian Facebook group Host Ukrainians/Hébergeons les Ukrainiens, this trained psychologist did not demanded besides temporary shelter for him, his little girl and his aunt, time to settle, away from war., looking for a better life.
“Messages like that, I blocked and deleted some of them,” explains To be necessary the young woman in her twenties, who was about to live with an Abitibi family. “Fortunately, I have some from very good people. »
However, of the twenty messages he received in total, some shocked him. “A lot of men wrote to me that they wanted me to put up, but neither did my daughter and my aunt. They wanted to be paid through sex,” she said, adding that some requests were less subtle. sugar daddy What was said was to offer him $ 200 a day just to “hurt” and “set” him free. ” No sexual “, he wrote in his message in English from a Facebook account showing several photos of a man proudly showing off his muscles, undressed.
Other people, who offered him “free” to go and live with them in their luxurious homes, became very coercive when he refused. “I was told that the city of Amos was not a good city, that I foolishly wanted to go there. The women also wrote to Kateryna Adamchuk offering to live with them if she would do housework and food for the whole household.
“I get messages from men with pictures with children in their profiles. But there are no women anywhere. Just an adult man and children. I don’t feel safe,” the Ukrainian said. married.
On the other hand, if she was skeptical often, she recounted that she had exchanged with a man who proved to be too compulsive for her to go and live with him. He had many questions that he did not answer. She became rude and did not hide her desire to have sex with him. “He made me feel like I owed him,” she said, saying she regretted giving him some personal information.
The duty was able to get his hands on screenshots of the private exchange of “shady” accounts, with unique photos and little information, of these unregulated Facebook groups.
Some of these exchanges prove as clearly as possible the intentions of their authors. “I see you as I want and I want a romantic relationship with you,” wrote a single Quebecer. To a Ukrainian woman who asked for help paying for her plane ticket, a man replied that it was possible if she accepted “a serious romantic relationship” with him. Another proposed marriage directly to expedite the paperwork.
Good Samaritan or conqueror?
In Europe, the phenomenon is known. Many groups fighting against sexual exploitation have alerted the public to the authorities, criticizing the risks that Ukrainian refugees run into these Facebook groups, compared to “Tinder for sexual predators “. In the United Kingdom, the Homes for Ukraine program, which grants residence permits to Ukrainians who must be fully sponsored by citizens or organizations, has been criticized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees because it has opened the way to profiteers. .
In Canada, the Canada-Ukraine Emergency Travel Authorization (AVUCU), which issues a three-year residence permit to work or study, is not conditional on sponsorship. But that doesn’t stop Ukrainians from looking on social networks for a family of good Samaritans that can accommodate them or help them find work in Quebec or anywhere in Canada.
From the start of the self -help group, at the end of February, the volunteer moderators of the group Host Ukrainians/Hébergeons les Ukrainiens were quick to intervene in the face of some slippage. Under the guise of good people, some prefer the profiles of stalker. “I don’t know if these are real predators, but cases where single men solicit women, that’s very common,” confirmed Montrealer Karyna Alyeksyeyeva, one of the group’s top executives counting today. more than 86,000 members today.
It is difficult to gauge the scale of the incident, as “it is rare for inappropriate comments to be written in public”, he said. “We know the problem, but especially with private messages that it happens. We have no control over that.»
For him, it’s not a question of judging anyone, but of not distorting the group’s goals. “We don’t want to be a platform for that. We also don’t want to put anyone at risk, there are weak people there.»
A form of vigilance
With his group of nearly thirty moderators, he checks hundreds of messages every day. While most were approved, others – either someone looking for a spouse or someone offering housing in exchange for unpaid work – were fired immediately. “Posts don’t have to be illegal. There’s a gray area,” M saidME Alyeksyeyeva, who insisted that most of the people in the Facebook group were well -meaning. “But the volume is very large. There is no effective way to manage it. »
Each new group member will receive a document entitled “Safety Tips for Host-Ukrainian Matching”. “Like any other initiative aimed at helping Ukrainians, this group has some risks in terms of human trafficking activities,” the administrators wrote, urging people to remain be careful. In particular, Ukrainians are advised not to hesitate to ask questions and to ask for proof of identity from the future host, and for the latter to voluntarily provide this information in order to put the other party at ease.
The moderators are also very active. The duty saw that they were very quick to issue warnings under the publications of young Ukrainian women saying they were looking for a home. “If we don’t want to generalize, let’s say that Ukrainian women always post beautiful photos of themselves, which, let’s say, can be an attraction to single men”, says Ms.ME Alyekseyeva.
Pinned posts also warn of potential predators. “Think before offering sexual augmentation or any kind of exploitation of Ukrainian women. Not only is this wrong, but you don’t know who you’re talking to or if law enforcement is watching you. »