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Former Ukrainian Porn Star, Persecuted At Home, Battles For EU Asylum

Former Porn Star Undeterred In Her Battle For EU Asylumi
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December 22, 2012
Anastasia Hagen may be the first porn actress to seek asylum in the European Union. But the Ukrainian mother-of-three says that checkered past is well behind her now. She's fighting an uphill battle for asylum in the Czech Republic, saying she could face prison and the splitting up of her young family if she's returned to Kyiv.
Former Porn Star Undeterred In Her Battle For EU Asylum
By Claire Bigg
KOUNICE, Czech Republic -- Playing with her children in the family's small living room, Anastasia Hagen looks just like any other mother.

She whisks her giggling 1-year-old son around the room on a toy car, only stopping to gently break up a scuffle between her two older boys, aged 10 and 4.

But Hagen is no ordinary mom.

The young woman, a frail 27-year-old with pale blue eyes, is famous in her native Ukraine for starring in dozens of pornographic films. She has since made headlines by reportedly becoming the first porn actress to ask -- so far unsuccessfully -- for political asylum in the European Union.

Hagen, formerly Gryshai, fled to the Czech Republic in February 2011 after Ukraine opened a criminal case against her on charges of producing and distributing pornography.

She faces up to seven years in jail under tough new laws on pornography that came into force in 2009. Ukrainian social services have also threatened to take her sons into care on the grounds that her connection with the pornography industry makes her unworthy to raise children.

'Drop In The Ocean'

Hagen, who says her days as a porn actress are behind her, believes she is the victim of a populist crusade against pornography waged by politicians in her homeland.

"In the porn industry, I'm just a drop in the ocean. There are huge numbers of girls like me," she says. "I used to shoot the scenes, get dressed, pick up my wages, and leave. I would go back home and be a normal mother. I bring up my children like all other mothers. I've never told them about what I did."

Hagen has vehemently denied distributing pornography.

If all else fails, Hagen says she will appeal her case to the European Court of Human Rights.If all else fails, Hagen says she will appeal her case to the European Court of Human Rights.
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If all else fails, Hagen says she will appeal her case to the European Court of Human Rights.
If all else fails, Hagen says she will appeal her case to the European Court of Human Rights.
She insists that she has signed away all her rights on the films and that the pornographic material found on her husband's computer during a raid on their home in Ukraine was for private use.

She claims she never filmed in Ukraine, only in Hungary and the Czech Republic.

All her requests and appeals have nonetheless been turned down by Czech authorities. In addition, her husband also frequently runs into difficulties obtaining Czech visas, meaning she has spent most of 2012 raising their children alone.

The family lives in a small but cozy two-room apartment in Kounice, a tiny village east of Prague.

'Cry Of Despair'

The young woman's plight has elicited little sympathy in her home country, where the new restrictions on pornography have struck a chord with many devout Orthodox Christians.

But some critics have denounced the law as too vague and open to abuse by authorities.

In what she describes as a "cry of despair," Hagen protested topless in front of the Czech parliament building earlier this month.In what she describes as a "cry of despair," Hagen protested topless in front of the Czech parliament building earlier this month.
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In what she describes as a "cry of despair," Hagen protested topless in front of the Czech parliament building earlier this month.
In what she describes as a "cry of despair," Hagen protested topless in front of the Czech parliament building earlier this month.
Hagen has also received support from the Ukrainian feminist group Femen, famous for their bare-breasted protests in Ukraine and beyond.

She herself demonstrated topless outside the Czech parliament earlier this month to draw attention to her case, a move she describes as "a cry of despair."

"I am fighting for the right of women to decide what to do with their bodies and where to work. It's their right. We all have the right to choose our own life," Hagen says. "I thought we lived in the 21st century, but I feel Ukraine has gone back to the 19th century."

Help has also come from unexpected quarters. Two Czech clergymen -- one Catholic and one evangelical -- recently spoke out in defense of the Hagen family and offered them shelter if needed.

Back in Ukraine, however, Hagen's foes are showing no inclination to let her off the hook.

'Immoral, Debauched Acts'

Leonid Grach, a prominent communist politician in Crimea, where she grew up, is one of five lawmakers who asked Ukrainian prosecutors to investigate her.
This is not about violations of her human rights...This is about her committing immoral, debauched acts from an early age.

Today, Grach is no longer a member of parliament. But he still firmly believes the young woman must face trial for her past as a porn actress.

"This is not about violations of her human rights, as she claims. This is about her committing immoral, debauched acts from an early age," Grach says. "She is the only Ukrainian woman widely known for officially appearing in pornographic films. This had to be stopped."

Hagen, in turn, says the lack of support she received from Ukrainian authorities as a young mother played a role in her decision to enter the porn business.

Left With Few Options

She was 18 years old when her husband, a welder who built a fortune making steel doors, was jailed following a business dispute with a high-profile local politician and former prosecutor.

With painfully inadequate child-care benefits and no help from her estranged parents, Hagen says she was left with few options to care for her first child, then a year old.

"The Ukrainian government did not support me. At the time, I received 90 hryvnyas [$11] per month, when a pack of nappies cost 80 hryvnyas," she says. "How were we supposed to live on this money? I had no education and no support from my family. And now, Ukrainian authorities call me immoral for finding this way of feeding myself and my baby."

This week, a Czech court granted Hagen and her children permission to remain in the Czech Republic pending a decision on her latest appeal -- a small victory in her protracted battle again eviction from the country.

The former porn star says she is determined to raise her children in the Czech Republic or any other country willing to shield her from prosecution in Ukraine. If all fails, she intends to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Despite the odds, she is not losing hope of leading an ordinary life, far from porn studios and courtrooms.

"I dream of myself as an old woman living in a big house, bigger than this one. I have a large family and many grandchildren. They all come to visit," Hagen says. "I don't know whether this is in the Czech Republic, but it is in a country in which I feel safe and free, in which I don't have to worry about my loved ones."

Nataliya Kovalenko of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service contributed to this report from Kyiv
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by: Johnny from: U.S.A.
December 21, 2012 20:00
I wish the young lady the very best of luck. You can see what it is about--crooked pioliticians who tried to cheat her husband and now they want to make it hard oin the whole family.
In Response

by: Roger from: US
January 01, 2013 06:41
God bless and strengthen you, Anastasia.
Contact the (Minnesota) Advocates for Human Rights
in Minneapolis, they do US asylum law. Oni govoryat khorosho po russki. Good luck!

by: Anonymous
December 21, 2012 20:09
interesting article.
some education at the beginning wouldn't have been a negative decision. yet, this is the status quo.
still, a number of Ukrainian politicians (involved in all these fistfights) seems not to be representing exactly the most respectable and less biased interlocutors (except for some responsible members of parliament, of course).

laws against certain films? why not.
but, it seems quite hypocritical like in many societies (especially Muslim and other ostentatiously religious ones).
certain people (some religious figures like imams, etc., some respected figures in society like some lawyers and and some politicians, doctors, etc. mostly talk this way and act that way, sodomizing and raping children, women, (like for instance Moshe Katsav, some Arab and Afghan born clerics, Israel's ex-president, some like paying prostitutes, cheating on their wives, like Dominique Strauss-Kahn, etc. etc. .

but to say in this context that women should decide for themselves what to do with their body and inherently claiming that she (Anastasia Hagner) was left with no option is slightly contradictory and inconsistent. yet, it is explainable as a strategy of defense in the face of the position of some politicians in the ukraine.

so, is the decision made by a young woman really a "free" one, if she has no education and is forced to get paid for being raped, denigrated and humiliated by various men? (or of course, sometimes maybe enjoying herself, as she and others might claim.)
in some societies, rich business men seemingly just buy young women, (force or) convince them into the business by paying relatively large sums of money.
in (africa), pakistan, afghanistan you just force the women to abandon her children for prostitution or you just take her as an object as some article recently highlighted. in Albania, some Arab nations and even the western world things might be slightly different in some aspects but human trafficking shows that violence is rather widespread and not "free will" itself.

so, the aspect of "freedom" is quite challenging.
so, interesting that a women defends this industry. many people could argue that this industry exploits women, sometimes drugs them and then gets rid off them (since as she underscored, there are high numbers of women at disposal, some dreaming of money, others dreaming maybe of leaving specific conditions, others with no choice.)

this legislation though, is it really intended to punish, to prohibit, to condemn certain actions and to help women, children and societies, at large? or is it rather a tool for blackmailing and exploiting in this case this young woman?

well, as she said, if you pay, you are not prosecuted.

and, eventually, the chance of her being raped in prison by guards, maybe politicians and business men, might be highly elevated.

finally, it would be interesting to know how she supports herself in Kounice if her husband is not allowed to enter the Czech Republic. does she intend to find a decent job or to start some training?
interesting also that some courageous priests were willing to provide shelter for her.

keep us updated.

by: Asehpe from: the Netherlands
December 21, 2012 23:36
I wished there was something I could do to help Ms Hagen in her plight. Bigsbe, there's nothing wrong with her videos, including the last YouTube ones; sex is a natural thing. Anti-pornography laws are, as she well explains in the interview, just a way for Ukrainian politicians to get extra money via bribes.

I suggest to her to set up a website asking for help and donations. I'd donate money to such a cause.

If Prague won't do the right thing, perhaps another EU government will. There certainly are associations in Western Europe -- Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden -- that could help her defend herself and find asylum.
In Response

by: Lubsus from: Czech Republic
December 28, 2012 01:22
Asehpe, you can support Mrs. Hagen on this address:

http://www.berkat.cz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=68%3Azahajujeme-sbirku-na-pomoc-ukrajince-anastazii-hagen&lang=cs

by: Deep Space from: Columbia
December 22, 2012 00:51
If she's so down with it why does she insure that her boys think she's only a "model". She knows its immoral and now she's acting liking a victim. Maybe the Ukranian gov is being too harsh but I think pornography is a social cancer and is not doing anybody any good.
In Response

by: Anonymous
December 22, 2012 18:56
Because society around her doesn't agree with it. If she did what you suggest, she would be calling for trouble, inside the family as well as outside.

Besides, you're suggesting that 2- or 5-year-olds are already old enough to talk freely about sex? Would you do that to your own children?

by: Agent Provocateur from: Bronx, NY, USA
December 22, 2012 01:50
The US should grant asylum to this woman, and to anyone else who is persecuted for the victimless act of making a porn video involving only consenting adults.

Why would people want a law against porn anyway?

If we get rid of porn, what are people supposed to look at when they are masturbating?

Or when they're getting ready to masturbate?

Or when they think they might want to masturbate tomorrow?

Or when they are just bored?

Or when they are at work?

Think about that anti-porn crusaders (Pwned).

by: Sey from: World
December 22, 2012 02:28
Disgusting woman playing the victim. I hope she spends the rest of her lifetime in the coldest, darkest jail in Ukraine or the Czech Republic, the havens of pedophiles, prostitutes, and porn of Europe.

This is not even about religion. Seriously, what can this woman teach her children? How can she be a role model for them? How can she even call herself a mother? Authorities must take her children as soon as they can, before they grow up and find out.
In Response

by: wild from: uk
December 22, 2012 11:59
Sey and others its ppl like you who have that thought process why there are so many problems with this world we live in. You do not have the right to judge based on that limited article. Do your own research. Find out your own facts. The human race will be the death of itself with ppl like you who seem to hold this type of moral high ground.
In Response

by: Asehpe from: The Netherlands
December 22, 2012 18:58
Judging from your letter, what do you have to teach your children -- other than hatred for those who aren't like you?

And haters like you still think they have anything to teach others about how to behave. Go figure...
In Response

by: Ivan from: California
December 23, 2012 18:06
@Sey, she is a mom trying to take care of her children. After you throw her in jail what do you suggests happens to her children? Throw them in jail for profiting off the porn industry?

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
December 22, 2012 03:57
This girl should to be the president of Russia or Ukraine.
What is happening in the Duma and Rada, worse than any pornography.
Let us remember fights of pot-bellied men in Rada or Putin's order,that dooms many disabled children to death....
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
December 22, 2012 12:31
Yeah yeah yeah,this girl should be first a prezident of Georgia,she`s far prettier than Aakashvili and Bidzinadze combined and is sure to solve all georgian problems.And Vakhtangovitch should be appointed her personal lapdog-this way we shall solve all his problems,too.Dear Vakhtang from Mosscow-we`re all glad you got over your hangover from the 21th of Dec.Koba anniversary,see you soon in Gori!!!
In Response

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
December 23, 2012 00:13
Mr.camel I ask you to calm down ..You'll never be a porn star....hoofed animals unfortunately do not accept..maximum, cage in the cold and the kids around throwing snowballs at a camel...

by: George from: USA
December 23, 2012 14:40
Despite the fact that this is typical of Eastern Europe, we all see corruption world wide. And always women and children caught in the middle. Ukraine, (the sex tourist capitol of Europe), filled with prostitutes, is as hypocritical and corrupt as it gets. And of course it would be a old commie that would start this.
Always seem's to be a group of idiots in power that wants to control all around them, does not seem to matter what country.
I hope this young lady gets help, gets to live her life, and raise her children. Just one time I would like to see the people of the world wake up and do away with these petty, small minded folk.
Round them up, put them on a island away from the "normal" folk of the world, let them control each other and leave the rest of us in peace.

by: Jack from: US
December 24, 2012 00:53
this Ukrainian porn star speaks Russian in her interview. Ukrainians do prefer Russian to Ukrainian because Ukrainian is seen as retarded village dialect. We should pray she is granted asylum by some NATO minion because it would surely be better for her and for her kids and kids are the most important.
My mother says there is nothing wrong with being a porn star. It is good for your health

by: billy brit from: london
December 24, 2012 15:59
ive been following this case and ive got to say that there is a lot of uninformed rubbish being posted in these comments by people with no knowledge of the situation but who just want to make noise.

this is a younh women who like many before her got pregnant at a young age and was cut off by her parents. her husband crossed the wrong people and was thrown into jail leaving her homeless and penniless.

i ask you... what would have done?



In Response

by: joker from: London
December 25, 2012 10:59
what you say is absurd. people DO NOT have to resort to depraved behaviour to make money for their kids. If you believe this, you are one step one from this degeneracy.
In Response

by: Ruppert from: this planet
December 25, 2012 22:56
Hey troll go to preach that to the young students from Oxford an Cambridge who hungry to get the best possible education do the night shifts in lap dance clubs. You have NO IDEA about life in countries like Ukraine...if than maybe from books and news....If you think that there were solutions she did not exploit than go penniless to stay in Ukraine for at least 3 months and earn enough to feed 3 kids from a local orphanage.
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