| By Ashish Sharma & Martin Langer
| In Kiev
Uefa are acting like “pimps” on the issue of prostitution in Ukraine during Euro 2012, according to one of the country’s leading feminist organisations.
Prostitution is illegal in Ukraine, but government estimates suggest some 12,000 women are involved in the sex industry, while unofficial sources claim the true figure is much higher.
In an exclusive interview with Goal.com
, Inna Shevchenko, spokeswoman for Femen, claims Uefa is well aware of the problem but has shown no desire to help tackle it.
"The reason I am against Uefa is because they are just here to make money"
“The reason I am against Uefa is because they are just here to make money,” she said.
“That's all they care about wherever they go. And it's very easy to make money with the sex industry here in Ukraine.
“Women don't have alternatives to earn a living here. Pimps recruit them in the streets, in their universities, in clubs, everywhere.
“Young girls here are recruited for the sex industry. This is a country of prostitutes.”
Indeed, rather than helping the Ukrainian government clamp down on the sex industry, Ms Shevchenko argues Uefa have actively sought to encourage prostitution.
“I believe they have worked with our government to stimulate it,” she added.
“These kinds of tournaments attract sex guests all the time. For example, in Germany prostitution was legalised before the World Cup in 2006.
“It generates revenue and that is what interests the big bosses of football and government. Just look around our country right now in the Euros.
“There are adverts for sex clubs as soon as you land at the airport. There are more ‘Men's Clubs’ than pharmacies or restaurants.”
Ms Shevchenko insists her organisation have been urging Uefa to take action on the issue of prostitution for over three years, but without success.
"We have police officers outside our office 24 hours a day, checking out on what we do, who we see, what we are planning"
“We called them, we wrote to them, we wanted to work together for Euro 2012,” she continued.
“They have great social initiatives, like the one against racism. However, they never answered back.
“So we resorted to our usual tactic to make the world aware and attract attention of the mass media. It was a cry for help.
“But Uefa didn't bother at all so we understood that they are the real pimps. Michel Platini is the main pimp.”
Femen often use unorthodox tactics to publicise their cause. They often protest topless, and made an attempt to steal the Euro 2012 trophy prior to the tournament.
To minimise the risk of Femen staging another high-profile protest during the competition, Ms Shevchenko claims members of her group have been subjected to arrests, violence and constant surveillance from the local police.
“We have police officers outside our office 24 hours a day, checking out on what we do, who we see, what we are planning,” she says.
“They have a big list with the pictures, passport numbers and names of all our activists with the name "How to stop Femen in Euro 2012" We know this because they told us!”