Around grade nine, at the city-wide Creative Writing Olympiad, she met a whiz kid in big glasses from the math school. On the radio that father listened to every evening, squeezing ear-first into the speaker that sputtered with a deafening scrape and occasionally burst into a sharp, dangerously increasing metallic whistle—on the radio came memoirs of the dying Snegirov, lists of surgically removed intestines, ruptured kidneys and bladders, insulin shocks, forcibly inserted feeding tubes, puddles of blood and vomit on cement floors—summary reports from the slaughterhouse, a carving of carcasses: Marchenko, Stus, Popadiuk, every few weeks more names, handsome young men not much older than yourself with thick manes of hair brushed back stiffly.He had the skin of a freshly peeled peach, rare for an adolescent, and glancing at him sideways she could see, behind the abnormally thick lenses, dark feminine eyelashes as thick as silk, and when he laughed his whole body contracted as often happens with very nervous intellectual boys who aren’t allowed to go out to play by themselves, but are let out only when sitting on a sled bundled up in a wool shawl to well above the bridge of the nose. You dreamed of them the way your girlfriends dreamed of movie stars, any day now he’ll come out of prison, scarred, matured, masculine, and you’ll meet—except that they never came out and the airwaves groaned with their agony, while father sat on the other side listening helplessly, year after year, ever since the day he himself was thrown out of work and began just sitting in the house, listening to the radio.There are shelters for the women in some cities, but spaces are limited so not everyone is benefiting.The IOM (International Organization for Migration) funds many grassroots projects in that region.However, recent gains are being threatened by conflict, which broke out in 2013 and has seen the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk come under the control of pro-Russian separatists and the Crimea – now under de facto Russian control.The Ukrainian Centre for Socially Dangerous Disease Control (UCDC) estimates that 24% of all new HIV infections in 2014 happened in conflict-affected areas and that 21% of people receiving ART live in disputed territories.6 The high concentration of vulnerable populations in conflict-affected areas, coupled with the worsening socio-economic situation unfolding in Ukraine as a result of the war, are of great concern for the country’s HIV response.Has Ukraine emerged from the former Soviet Union to become the illicit sex tourism capital of Europe?
Government and civil society have generally been proactive in responding to HIV and there have been some successes in rolling out antiretroviral treatment (ART) and harm reduction programmes.Ric Bienstock: Yes, there are currently many NGOs working on helping the victims when they return home, but resources are scarce so there is always room for improvement.Many of these women need medical help, psychological counseling and help reintegrating back into society after their experiences.A 28-year-old Ukrainian native, Oksana, was sold 13 times during her captivity and recalls being held in a cramped apartment with other women, one of whom sought help from the authorities only to be exploited by policemen. She also served as location director on the Emmy Award winning Plague Monkeys and producer of Deadly Currents, a feature-length investigation of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. By sending her home, they understood that the Moldovan police couldn't or wouldn't do anything and they also wanted to ensure that she couldn't go to the Turkish police. He can't afford an apartment so they can't live together yet.Katia was still pregnant when she returned, but on account of the drugs and abuse she endured at the hands of her traffickers, she had to terminate her pregnancy. _______________________ Austin, Tex.: Are these girls getting therapy after they return home?What first caught my attention was the city’s breathtaking mix of art nouveau and renaissance style houses along with its magnificent collection of stately theatres, grand hotels and imposing public monuments.