Wed, 29 Sep 2021

BISHKEK -- Meerim and Ajara had just started their first year in university in Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek, when the two young women stumbled upon an opportunity to make some money on the side.

Ajara saw an ad on Instagram looking for young, attractive women.

'They told her you just needed to exchange messages with people online, show them your underwear, nothing else. And they offered good money,' Meerim, 22, told RFE/RL on the condition that we use pseudonyms for her and Ajara.

The two friends began working at one of the dozens of webcam studios in Bishkek, interacting with clients from all over the world who pay them to chat, undress, and often perform sexual acts on camera. And at first, the money was good.

'In the first month I received around $1,000, and Ajara got even more. She got around $3,000. The second month was also well paid. But then it was cut. They started paying us about $600 each,' Meerim said.

That's when the trouble started.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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