Has Ukraine’s government forgotten to fight human trafficking?
Ukraine has no law on fighting human trafficking, and the State programme aimed at countering the crime ended last year. There is no new one as yet. At the same time the number of cases of human trafficking, especially involving children, is on the rise.
Human rights groups have been awaiting adoption of a law on countering human trafficking for three years already. The Ministry for the Family, Youth and Sport was supposed to have submitted to parliament the relevant draft law by the end of last year. However due to the administrative reform, the Ministry was dissolved, and the draft law forgotten, the International Women’s Human Rights Centre “La Strada – Ukraine” assets.
According to Maryana Yevsyukova, the Legal Director of La Strada – Ukraine, for a long time there was a National Programme on Countering Human Trafficking, but in 2010 it ended. “In 2011 there is so far no plan for countering human trafficking. The single provision in the law is criminal liability for human trafficking. That’s all. There is nothing else. No documents, no liability”.
No documents – no financing
According to Ms Yevsyukova during previous years the funding was extremely sluggish with only 10 million UAH being allocated for three years for countering slave labour in all regions. Now it was simply pointless even hoping for any funding for such projects. At the same time, according to OSCE figures, in Ukraine more than 30 thousand people each year fall victim to human traffickers, with 80% of them women.
Monitoring of implementation of the State programme on countering human trafficking in 2010 showed that the number of victims of human trafficking within the country is on the increase. Most are exploited in the construction industry and agricultural sphere. Coercion into prostitution is the main form of contemporary bondage in Ukraine. 33 criminal investigations were initiated last year over trafficking in children, and Ms Yevsyukova says that this number is rising each year. She adds that children are more and more often enticed into such situations through the Internet.