“Why do you sell it [sex]?”
“Please, don’t do that…. I have a two-year old son…. I swear on the Quran, I will leave this job. If you see me here one more time, kill me.”
In one video, a middle-aged woman tries to hide her face from the camera as she admits that she is a sex worker. She begs the man with the camera not to punish her. The man behind the camera rages at the woman and her friend for “debasing the name of Tajiks” in Russia. He threatens to punish them by shaving their heads and disseminating the video through social media.
Despite pleading for anonymity the women are forced to reveal their identities. They kneel in frightened obeisance, waiting for their heads to be shaved. The shocking scene is trending in Tajikistan circles on Odnoklassniki – a popular social network founded in Russia — and on YouTube.
A number of videos of Central Asian women accused of prostitution and generally “shaming their nation and religion” have been uploaded onto file-sharing platforms by anonymous users in recent times. The videos, deleted by social media moderators, reappear again after being uploaded by different users.
While the world speaks out about the enslavement of women by ISIS, netizens in Central Asia are vigorously discussing videos portraying the relentless persecution and physical punishment of Central Asian women suspected of prostitution.
Videos of Kyrgyz and Tajik female migrants facing public humiliation in Russia are nothing new, but a copycat tendency means the phenomenon has now affected the migrant communities of other states in the region. In November a video appeared on YouTube showing two young women in Uzbekistan sitting with their hands tied behind their backs. The man in the video beats them with a stick while calling them sluts.
Read more: globalvoicesonline.org – Written by Abdulfattoh Shafiev