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Pristina, Yugoslavia - The international troop presence in Kosovo is fuelling a prostitution boom in the Yugoslav province where brothels and girly bars are proliferating. The women all come from Ukraine, Russia, Moldova and Bulgaria. Most are here of their own accord, but some have been kidnapped by or sold to their pimps. All the brothels and bars are aimed at foreign customers. Prices are high compared with those in the local flesh market, marks about R for half-an-hour in a brothel at Slatina, close to Pristina, which is near the headquarters of Russian forces.
Southern Kosovo is particularly affected. It is a transit area between Albania and Macedonia," said an Italian, who asked not to be named. An expert on the question said: Often they are not paid and their pimp keeps their passports. The trouble is they still believe they have a future. He said some come believing they are to perform in cabaret acts, without knowing they will have to prostitute themselves. Some are kidnapped or are sold off.
Ludmila, a pretty year-old Ukrainian blonde with overdone lipstick, used to work in Istanbul. She was sold five times before ending up in November at the Night Club International in Slatina, where about 15 other women live.
Another Ukrainian, Katarina, 22, said she was kidnapped in Bulgaria and forced to work in a Macedonian brothel under harsh conditions before arriving in Kosovo. But she said she did not want to move on. United Nations police seem powerless to deal with the problem.
The UN mission in Kosovo UNMIK recently decided to abandon the Yugoslav legal code and to enforce the law as it was applied before , when Belgrade ended the province's autonomous regime. Under Yugoslav law, pimping is an offence, but the police still do not have copies of the pre legal code. Still worse, the UN police force is handicapped by shortages of equipment. His unit is strong, has three computers and three telephones. His unit is reduced to raiding brothels and bars to allow those women who wish to return to their home countries, with the help of some of the NGOs.