FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Stopping Sexual Abuse of Children in Russia

by Dr. CESAR CHELALA

One of the worst tragedies of post-Soviet Russia has been the increase in child abuse, particularly child prostitution. Besides the moral and ethical implications, the impact that sexual exploitation has on children’s health and future development demands urgent attention. It is a problem that shows no signs of abating.

Sexual abuse of children takes several forms. They are used in pornographic publications and films and exploited as prostitutes. They are also trafficked to other countries, particularly in the Middle East.

Victims of child sexual abuse are often lured by the fake promise of being published in mainstream fashion magazines. Some victims believe that prostitution and contact with rich businessmen will allow them the kind of lifestyle that they could not have otherwise.

Russia is now one of the main producers of child pornography in the world, and it registers significant incidences of child prostitution and child trafficking for sexual purposes, according to the Russian National Consultation on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.

St. Petersburg and northwestern Russia report a high incidence of sex tourism, which is widely advertised on the Internet and is aimed at people from neighboring Scandinavian countries. Child prostitution is the most common form of child exploitation in that region.

Those who recruit children for sexual exploitation frequently target street children or children from dysfunctional families. They initiate a vicious circle of entrapment and, as they become older, children end up in brothels. The recruiters prey on these children’s needs and deceive them into a life of dependency.

In Russia, many of the young prostitutes are from the provinces or from the former Soviet republics. They come to Moscow or to St. Petersburg hoping to hide in the anonymity of huge cities. Sometimes pregnant or with children, and with scant education or skills, children turn to prostitution as an essential tool for survival.

Children engaged in prostitution frequently belong to families at risk — those in extreme poverty or with alcohol and drug addiction. In other cases, they are orphans who have made the street their homes.

Many adults who sexually abuse children believe that by engaging with children, they are protected against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Children are less prone to practice safe sex, however, either because they don’t think they need it or because they are unable to oppose the pressure or intimidation from adults.

Because of the transnational character of transactions involving children, it is imperative to strengthen international collaboration to counter the sexual abuse of children. Although Russia has signed and ratified important international conventions, such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, it has not yet developed a national plan of action against commercial sexual exploitation of children.

The Angel Coalition, one of the few Russian nongovernmental organization working solely to combat human trafficking, has produced a video called “Inhuman Traffic,” with the participation of actress Angelina Jolie. The documentary gives a shocking view of the tragedy of trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation in Russia and all across Europe. Moreover, it gives an insight into the trafficking chain and how it can be broken. It should be required viewing for all government officials who are involved in combating this scourge.

On May 11, 2011, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, called on lawmakers to consider “chemical castration” for pedophiles, following an unprecedented wave of sexual crimes against minors in the country, including the violent death of child victims. In October 2011, the Russian parliament approved a law on pedophilia, according to which those found guilty of sex crimes against children under 14 will face chemical castration, while repeated sex offenders will face a life sentence.

Child abuse in Russia is an issue that demands concerted and long-term actions to prevent it. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is clear in the need to respect the rights of children, and by following its directives Russia can take an important step in the battle against the abuse of society’s most vulnerable members.

Dr. César Chelala is an international public health consultant and a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award.

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
Robert Koehler
Stop the Killing
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: Of Dog Legs and “Debates”
Yves Engler
The Media’s Biased Perspective
Victor Grossman
Omens From Berlin
Christopher Brauchli
Wells Fargo as Metaphor for the Trump Campaign
Nyla Ali Khan
War of Words Between India and Pakistan at the United Nations
Tom Barnard
Block the Bunker! Historic Victory Against Police Boondoggle in Seattle
James Rothenberg
Bullshit Recognition as Survival Tactic
Ed Rampell
A Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits
Kristine Mattis
Persnickety Publishing Pet-Peeves
Charles R. Larson
Review: Helen Dewitt’s “The Last Samurai”
David Yearsley
Torture Chamber Music
September 22, 2016
Dave Lindorff
Wells Fargo’s Stumpf Leads the Way
Stan Cox
If There’s a World War II-Style Climate Mobilization, It has to Go All the Way—and Then Some
Binoy Kampmark
Source Betrayed: the Washington Post and Edward Snowden
John W. Whitehead
Wards of the Nanny State
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail