Around one hundred thousand Ukrainians have suffered from human trafficking (updated)
IOM Ukraine Counter-trafficking Programme Coordinator, Fredric Larsson gave these figures during a briefing on Tuesday 6 March in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He mentioned that they were based on reports commissioned by the International Organization for Migration Mission in Ukraine.
Mr Larsson pointed out that the level of labour exploitation was four times higher than that for sexual bondage. He added, however, that the figures were probably not an accurate reflection since the majority of victims of sexual bondage refuse to admit to this.
He also noted that Ukraine is carrying out a large number of different anti-trafficking measures and that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has created a special section on this subject. He added that Ukraine was the first country in the world to have legislation and a state department on combating human trafficking.
Mr Larsson said that an active part in addressing this problem was also being taken by Ukrainian society, together with churches and civic organizations.
At the same time, he stressed that without support from the world community, the problem could not be resolved. He is convinced that for Europe it is vital that Ukrainians should be able to travel abroad in safety.
The International Organization for Migration has over the last five years given assistance to 3,200 Ukrainian nationals who had ended up in bondage in 52 different countries, 20 of which are members of the EU. Of course, however, most Ukrainians become caught up in slavery in neighbouring countries – Russia, Poland and Turkey.
Mr Larsson stressed that as well as the work which the IOM and Ukraine are carrying out on helping victims, efforts are also needed to bring criminal charges against the perpetrators.
He added that in Ukraine at the present time there are five special refuges for people who have been in bondage, special hospitals for them, as well as a service providing psychological help to the victims and helping them find work.