Ukrainian Women Protest “Win a Wife” Contest

In the face of international uproar, New Zealand radio station The Rock FM has plowed ahead and picked a winner in its “Win a Wife” contest. The winner gets to pick a woman from a Ukrainian matchmaking agency and travel to Ukraine in the hopes of marrying her–or, in the words of the radio station, “to woo a hot European lady.” On Monday February 28, that honor went to Greg, who has previously sought a relationship with a Ukrainian woman and unsuccessfully traveled to Ukraine to meet her.

On Tuesday, FEMEN, a Ukrainian feminist organization dedicated to fighting the culture of sex tourism, staged a protest outside Kiev’s marriage registration office. Nine members of FEMEN protested topless in the snow while wearing wedding veils. The women held signs which read “Ukraine is not a Brothel” and “Welcome to Hell.”

Traveling to Ukraine was once a difficult process, but in 2005, Ukraine dropped entry visa requirements for Americans or citizens of the European Union seeking to travel, and now more than 20 million people visit Ukraine every year. With the change in visa laws came an increase in sex tourism and trafficking. According to the U.S. Department of State, “Ukraine is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked transnationally for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor.” In 2007, the International Organization for Migration found that:

More Ukrainian men, women and children have been trafficked abroad and forced into indentured labor or prostitution than in any other Eastern European country since the Soviet collapse … Roughly 117,000 Ukrainians have been forced into exploitative situations in Europe, the Middle East and Russia since 1991 …

“Ukrainian women are not a commodity,” FEMEN’s leader Anna Hutsol says. The group has staged other protests calling attention to sex trafficking and prostitution in Ukraine.

Image of protest from FEMEN.


  1. snobographer says:

    What's the point of protesting topless? Is that the only way they can get people to pay attention? Because that sucks.

  2. Shannon Mills says:

    I'm glad there was a protest; however, I'm wondering at the toplessness. Isn't that just an extra delight for the NZ perverts who launched this contest in the first place?

  3. Sally Brown says:

    Do you think if 9 women (fully) dressed as brides protested they would get any media coverage? It would have to be a very slow news day to say the least. They are making a metaphor/point that a bride does not equal a prostitute. In many western countries bathing suits tops are optional. It might be in New Zealand but not the Ukrainian. They did this in the snow too. I guess it didn't stick or the steps were cleared.

  4. I also think protesting topless for sex traficking is a very bad idea.

  5. It is showing the link between the sex trade in the Ukraine and the the 'Win a Bride' title.

  6. Hi there. There is a similar contest being held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Check out the following link for more info:

    Re. Win a Russian Romance – An Open Letter to Rob Vavrek, Brand Manager of 100.3 The Bear:

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