Foreign aid workers currently in Kosovo are allegedly proving a big help to at least one part of the local population — pimps. The 60,000 foreign aid workers and 40,000 outside military “peacekeepers” stationed in the region make up almost half the customers for Eastern European women and girls sold and forced into prostitution in Kosovo, according to the TORONTO STAR. International peacekeepers even help run at least one brothel, the paper reports.
“Some of the women have begged the humanitarian workers to help them, and they’re just ignored,” says “Barbara,” a women’s shelter worker. Could it be that the aid workers simply don’t realize that the women, mostly lured from their impoverished homes in Eastern Europe, are essentially slaves? Not likely, says the STAR. Women in one bar, Toto’s, were “locked…into a squalid unheated basement without running water, toilets, or beds to sleep in.” While international forces have shut Toto’s down, the future remains bleak for women in other brothels. “The best they can hope for is to get out with their lives … We don’t even know how many have already died,” Barbara says.