Human trafficking: Ukrainians more and more often exploit their fellow citizens


Human trafficking within Ukraine is gaining momentum with the number of cases rising all the time. Victims are most often people from rural areas.

Tetyana Rudenko, OSCE Project Manager in Ukraine has told a conference in Lviv on Coordinating Efforts to Identify and Provide Support for Victims of Human Trafficking in Rural Areas that each year more than 30 thousand Ukrainians fall victim to human traffickers. The number of cases is increasing where Ukrainians are exploited by other Ukrainians, with this in the main being labour or sexual bondage.

According to the Head of “Women’s Prospects”, Lybov Maksymovych, the residents of small towns and villages are most often the victims. The problem of unemployment is more acute, you have whole villages leaving and lack of knowledge among villagers makes it easy for criminal outfits to con them.  The situation is exacerbated by the fact that villagers who have fallen victim to human traffickers don’t know who to turn to, and are afraid of publicity.

Civic organizations therefore hold training seminars with the heads of village councils. According to Lybov Maksymovych, these have had some effect which can be measured in the number of calls to their help line for potential labour migrants. There are complaints from people who have been taken for slave-labour agricultural work in southern regions of the country or to construction sites, and then not paid for their work.

At present civic organizations are building mechanisms for identifying victims of human trafficking and providing assistance. This is to be set out in a Law on Prevention of Human Trafficking. The draft law is at agreement stage and could be passed by parliament at the end of this year or in the new year, Lybov Maksymovych says. Experts complain that at present the government does not have a programme, or the structure or specialized buildings for reintegrating victims of human trafficking, with the problem largely addressed by civic organizations.

From a report by Halyna Stadnyk

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