Human rights in Ukraine 2011. XXIII. TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS — VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
In the year 2011, the state has been engaging both in positive and negative actions concerning trafficking in human beings. For instance, in September Verkhovna Rada finally adopted the Law of Ukraine “On Counteraction to Trafficking in Human Beings”. On the other hand, during the entire year there was no systemic practical work in the sphere of counteraction to trafficking in human beings. No enactments in implementation of the Law have been developed. The authorized body of state authority responsible for implementation of this work has not been determined. Assistance provided to victims was possible only thanks to international and non-governmental organizations. In the Global Report on Counteraction to Trafficking in Human Beings (June 2011), which is prepared by the experts of the US State Department, based on the results of 2010, Ukraine is still in Group 2 (work is being done but insufficiently).
1. Institutional mechanisms
As it was mentioned in other sections, the problem of the year 2011 was disbandment of the institutional mechanism of counteraction to trafficking in human beings. The Presidential Decree as of December 9, 2010, disbanded the Ministry of Ukraine for Family, Youth and Sports, which was the authorized and coordinating body of central executive power in the sphere of counteraction to trafficking in human beings.
By the Presidential Decrees as of April 6, 2011, Provisions on the central bodies of executive power were approved, and some of the functions of the disbanded Ministry were transferred to the Ministry of Social Policy. At that, such important direction as counteraction to trafficking in human beings was left uncovered by any of the central governmental agencies (including as of December 31, 2011). As a result — the State Program of counteraction to trafficking in human beings for the years of 2011–2015, which was developed yet in 2010, was not approved, although it was supposed to be approved as the law, that is, as the state dedicated program with allocated funding. Both the international and non-governmental organizations have been bringing attention to this but there was no response from the state. The oblast departments for family and youth, which are in charge of coordinating these activities locally are completely desoriented and have been waiting for more than a year to be re-organized due to the reform. For a year, the intersectoral committee failed to convene even once.
2. Collection and generalization of information
Due to absence of the program and the responsible governmental agency, in 2011 the governmental institutions neither collected nor analyzed the information and reports on the problem’s status and activities in the sphere of counteraction to trafficking in human beings, despite the recommendation of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. There is no information as to whether Ukraine is using the Trafficking Information Management System (TIMS — The Trafficking Information Management System), a safe online resource, which was launched at the level of the Council of Europe in May 2010, although this system is an efficient tool for information management that enables GRETA (Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings) and the governments to share the key documents prepared in the course of the monitoring, including the GRETA evaluation reports and governments’ comments to them, as well as the recommendations of the Committee of State Parties to the Convention.
3. Development and improvement of the legislation as political necessity
On September 20, 2011, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine approved the Law “On Counteraction to Trafficking in Human Beings”. The draft was submitted by the people’s deputy of Ukraine O.O. Zarubinsky on May 10, 2011. It was based on the draft developed by the working group that was established in the Ministry for Family, Youth and Sports yet in 2008 and was supported by the Office of OSCE Project Coordinator and included representatives of international and non-governmental organizations as well as independent experts.
Despite the negative conclusion concerning this draft issued by the Chief Scientific Expertise Department — “based on the results of its assessment in the first reading, it is advisable to decline the draft”, and the fact that on May 31, Verkhovna Rada voted 239 votes of the 313 registered against even including it in the agenda for the plenary session, on July 5, 2011, it was adopted in the first reading. And then in less than three months it became an effective regulatory document of the state. The Committee on Fighting Organized Crime and Corruption in its submission
No. 04-12/3-997 as of June 2, 2011, informs as follows: “At its session on June 1, 2011, (Minutes No. 81) the Committee decided to recommend Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to decline the draft Law of Ukraine ‘On counteraction to trafficking in human beings.’ This Committee’s decision is based on the fact that most provisions of this draft have a contradictory and legally groundless”. But already in the conclusion concerning the daft being prepared for the second reading, this very Committee supported adoption of the Law: “Considering the further improvement of work on implementation of the state’s international obligations as to counteraction to transnational organized crime, which includes counteraction to trafficking in human beings, to be an urgent need, the Committee suggests to adopt in the second reading and in general the draft Law of Ukraine on counteraction to trafficking in human beings (the Minutes of the session of the Committee as of September 8, 2011, No. 85)”. Such a change of heart can be explained by the political expediency of adopting the Law, which is one of the positions of the National Plan on implementation of the Action Plan concerning liberalization of the EU visa regime for Ukraine, approved by the Presidential Decree as of April 22, 2011 (No. 494/2011). In compliance with it, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine is vested with implementation of this Plan, and, as to this specific position, the Cabinet failed to accomplish it. Therefore, adoption of the Law aimed not only to promote counteraction to trafficking but also implementation of the said Action Plan. What the Ukrainian society obtained as a result of adoption of the Law of Ukraine “On Counteraction to Trafficking in Human Beings” — a step towards simplification of the visa regime between Ukraine and the European Union, or a practical tool for combating this crime — is more of a rhetorical question.
The Law states its purpose as “determining the ways for legislative regulation of the issue of counteraction to trafficking in human beings, minimizing of its consequences through establishing the corresponding organizational and legal grounds, powers of the bodies of executive power, determining the status of persons who were affected by trafficking in human beings and the procedure of providing assistance to such persons”. The Law determines: the major directions of implementation of the state policy for counteraction to trafficking in human beings; powers of the bodies of executive power when taking actions on counteraction to trafficking in human beings; the mechanism for prevention of trafficking in human beings, counteraction to it, providing assistance and protection to those affected by it; the rights of the victims of trafficking in human beings who applied for assistance; the grounds for international cooperation in the sphere of counteraction to trafficking in human beings. Besides, it outlines the repatriation procedure of foreigners and stateless individuals who suffered from trafficking in human beings, as well as special principles of counteraction to trafficking in children. It includes provisions concerning protection of rights of foreigners and stateless individuals who suffered from trafficking in human beings on the territory of Ukraine. The Law contains a series of innovative provisions, especially the ones concerning protection of victims of trafficking in human beings. For instance, with the purpose of effective assistance to people who suffered from trafficking in human beings, and their protection, it stipulates establishment of the national mechanism for interaction of entities conducting activities in the sphere of counteraction to trafficking in human beings (Art. 13). A person who considers her- or himself a victim of trafficking in human beings has a right to apply to a local state administration for obtaining the status of a victim of trafficking in human beings, and to the agencies of internal affairs concerning protection of their rights and freedoms (Art. 14). The status of a victim of trafficking in human beings is given for the period of up to two years (Art. 15). A person who obtains such status has a right for securing of her or his personal safety and respect, as well as for free of charge: medical, psychological, social, legal and other necessary assistance; temporary housing, in case she or he has no place to stay and wants one, in institutions that provide assistance to persons who suffered from trafficking in human beings for the period of time of up to three months, which, if necessary, can be prolonged by the decision of the local state administration, in particular, due to this person’s involvement as the victim or witness in a criminal trial; compensation for emotional damage and bodily harm at the cost of the persons that caused it, in accordance with the procedure stipulated in the Civil Code; one-time material assistance; assistance in employment, implementation of the right for education and occupational training, etc. (Art. 16)
But even a rather superficial analysis of the Law “On Counteraction to Trafficking in Human Beings” shows that it is not in full compliance with the provisions of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. For instance, the Law does not contain provisions concerning compensation payments to those suffered from trafficking in human beings and establishment of the special purpose fund for compensation to victims of trafficking, as stipulated by Art. 15 of the Convention. It does not use the term “establishing the period for recuperation and reflection for persons” concerning whom there are reasons to believe they are victims of trafficking. There are provisions that cause suspicion. Art. 6 of the Law “Powers of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine” lists, among others, determining the procedure of establishment and operation of the Unified State Register of Crimes of Trafficking in Human Beings”. This provision gives reasons to doubt whether it would be possible to protect the personal data of victims of trafficking in human beings, as disclosure of their personal data would contribute to their victimization and discrimination.
Another doubtful conclusion is that adoption of this Law does not require any amendments to other enactments. For instance, currently all centers for providing assistance to people in difficult circumstances (crisis situations) operate based on the standard provisions, which, in their turn, are developed based on the Law of Ukraine “On Social Work with Youth”. But the Law of Ukraine “On Social Work with Youth” that legitimizes their operation limits the age of those to be admitted to such centers — they cannot be older than 35. Thus, there are contradictions between the laws of Ukraine and they need to be addressed.
Expectations from adoption of the Law “On Counteraction to Trafficking in Human Beings” are ambitious but their implementation depends on political will as well as on how the provisions of the Law will be developed in the State Program on counteraction to trafficking in human beings, which has to be approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, and specified in the statutory instruments and whether there will be sufficient funding for implementation of the planned activities, etc. For instance, the explanatory note for the draft Law mentioned that implementation of the Law would require allocation of funds in the amount of UAH 2,003,400 from the state budget, of UAH 13,954,100 from local budgets and UAH 3,264,100 from other sources for monitoring of activities of entities of counteraction to trafficking and publication of the annual report.
The people’s deputies of Ukraine also propose to license the activities of “lonely hearts clubs” and “dating agencies”. The Parliament adopted the draft Law “On making amendments of some legislative acts of Ukraine concerning counteraction to trafficking in human beings” in the first reading. The originators of the new draft propose to include in the Criminal Code additional sanctions. And namely: if lonely hearts clubs and dating agencies operate in Ukraine without a special permit they are to be fined for the amount from UAH 8,500 to 17,000 “with or without confiscation of equipment”. Specialists express their doubts as to expediency of such changes.
According to the Law “On Amnesty” (as of July 8, 2011, No. 3680-VI), there is no amnesty planned in 2011 for persons who serve time for crimes specified in Articles 143 and 149 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
4. Law Enforcement
The statistics of criminal cases initiated by the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine according to Article 149 of the Criminal Code stays at the same level, with a slight tendency towards reduction. In particular, during the 6 months of 2011, 126 cases were initiated (in 2010 — 337). This tendency, to our mind, is connected with deterioration of work of the corresponding departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, due to re-organization and overextended reformation within the Ministry — liquidation of the Department of counteraction to crimes related to trafficking in human beings, establishment in its stead of the Department of counteraction with cyber crimes and trafficking in human beings, and later the plans to disband this newly formed Department and include it in the Criminal Investigation Department.
In 2011, the first loud scandals emerged concerning activities of the Department of counteraction to crimes related to trafficking in human beings; they were widely covered online, but nothing was heard at to performed inspections, confirmations or rebuttals. Many journalists and experts mention the controversy of initiating the criminal case against the head of the Department of counteraction to crimes related to trafficking in human beings in Mykolayivska oblast. All this is far from contributing to effective crime fighting, and demonstrates how crucial the public control over the police activities is.
5. Preventative Work
Like in the previous years, both NGOs and governmental structures were active in this area. In 2011, the Ministry of Education, Science, Youth and Sports issued yet another decree No. 292 as of March 29, 2011, “On organization of the informational and preventative work concerning prevention of trafficking, exploitation and cruel treatment of children in 2011”. The expert group kept working on completion of the standards of providing services in the sphere of counteraction to trafficking in human beings. Their work resulted in 4 project documents: the Standard of providing informational and educational services on prevention of trafficking in human beings; the Standard of providing social services to children that suffered from trafficking in human beings; the Standard of providing services on prevention of trafficking in human beings for persons in vulnerable positions; the Standard of providing social services to persons who suffered from trafficking in human beings. These documents are open for discussion. But, despite the positive evaluations they received, they are still not approved.
The expert evaluation of school curricula was conducted to see whether it would be possible to include the topic of counteraction to trafficking in human beings and exploitation of children into the base part of the state-determined component of the school curricula. Based on the evaluation results, the methodological recommendations as to inclusion of these topics in school curricula were submitted to the Ministry of Education, Science, Youth and Sports. In the course of the study “State of implementation of the curricula (topics) in the issues of prevention of trafficking in human beings in the system of training of teachers and social workers by institutions of higher education” information was collected and generalized concerning presence and scope in university curricula of special courses, separate topics and questions concerning the issues of trafficking in human beings and exploitation of children. A series of study guides and publications on the topic have been prepared.
The degree of importance of institutionalization of the activity, in particular, for prevention work, can be illustrated by the following example. Following the initiative of the State Service for Youth and Sports, UNICEF, international organizations and NGOs, the social campaign “Let’s Do It Together” was launched on the eve of the European Football Championship EURO-2012. One of its directions, “Red Card”, is dedicated to prevention of negative phenomena in the society like discrimination, domestic violence, sexual exploitation of children, intolerance and xenophobia. Both the Office of OSCE Project Coordinator and La Strada were proposing to include counteraction to trafficking in human beings in this list, what in the end was not done. As the representatives of the state explained, as long as the country has no responsible agency of state authority in charge of counteraction to trafficking in human beings, this means there is no such problem. As a result, the campaign’s first wave, which is funded by the state, did not include the topic of prevention trafficking in human beings. It will be included in the second wave to be funded from other sources.
6. Providing assistance to people who suffered from trafficking in human beings
Like in the previous years, providing assistance to those who suffered from trafficking in human beings is still a sphere of responsibility of international organizations and NGOs. During the 6 months of 2011, the IOM in Ukraine by itself and through the network of NGOs provided assistance to 397 victims (during the year 2010 — to 1,085 victims). Also, during 6 months of 2011, assistance was provided to 47 children (in 2010 — to 123), 26 girls and 21 boys. The types of exploitation of children are listed in Table 1.
Type of exploitation
High risk group of getting involved into trafficking
The most popular country of destination in all years of observation was, and still is, the Russian Federation, the second place in the latest years is taken by Poland (in the beginning of 2000 it was taken by Turkey), Ukraine is on the third place . The numbers show growth of identified cases of domestic trafficking in human beings (46 persons, according to the IOM statistics in the first 6 months of 2011, 114 — in 2010), as well as the cases of trafficking in human beings, related to labor exploitation (see Table 2 with the IOM data below). Analysis of the statistics shows that every year the number of men who are identified as victims of trafficking in human beings, grows both in ratio and in absolute numbers — 36% in 2010 and 43 — in 2011 (Table 3). In the last years, we can observe cases discovering the victims of trafficking in human beings, citizens of other countries, in Ukraine, which confirms that Ukraine is not only the country of origin of those who suffered from trafficking in human beings, but also the country of destination (8 people in 2010, 9 in 6 months of 2011).
Form of exploitation
Number of victims
In the La Strada — Ukraine Center, about 20% of the cases are those of women who emigrated to marry a foreigner, and for varying reasons now need help, in particular help in returning to Ukraine. Problems are varying: they suffer from violence, including cases where husbands take their documents from them and use them as home help; some women are in sexual slavery; and there are a lot of women who cannot return to Ukraine together with their child.
Among the positive achievements of 2011 is preparation of the draft Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine “On approval of the National Mechanism of interaction for entities conducting activities in the sphere of counteraction to trafficking in human beings”, prepared by the Ministry of Family, Youth and Sports, facilitated by the Office of OSCE Project Coordinator in Ukraine. This document will outline in more detail the powers of the entities, the mechanism of their interaction, procedures concerning organizing assistance for victims, etc. Presently the document is at the stage of follow-up work and adjustment according to the requirements of all relevant structures. It needs considerable follow-up reworking. Yet, as this document is only a draft, which will be amended and adjusted according to the requirements of all relevant structures, presently it is too early to speak about its implementation.
7. International cooperation
An important event of 2011 was signing in February of the Memorandum of Cooperation in the sphere of counteraction to trafficking in human beings between the Governments of Ukraine and the U.S. Yet, implementation of the Plan on Cooperation between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Ukraine in the issues of counteraction to trafficking in human beings, according to which both states undertook the obligations to implement and finance activities aimed to stop this shameful phenomenon, is under the threat of being disrupted. The entity assigned responsible for implementation of the Memorandum in Ukraine was the Ministry of Ukraine of Education, Science, Youth and Sports, yet the list of its spheres of competence does not mention counteraction to trafficking in human beings, which was confirmed by the relevant letters in response to the request of the La Strada — Ukraine Center. Ukraine never financed the activities as required by this Memorandum.
After the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings was adopted, GRETA committee, the regional mechanism for monitoring over the countries’ adherence to the Convention provisions, started to work. In spite of having the opportunity, Ukraine did not nominate its representatives to this expert group. Starting from 2008 and until September 2011, 6 meetings of the Committee of the Parties were conducted. Ukraine was represented at 4 of them, by S. Shevchuk (First Secretary of the Standing mission of Ukraine in the Council of Europe) and P. Petrenko (Second Secretary of the Standing mission of Ukraine in the Council of Europe). In September 2011, trying to influence the alarming situation with institutional support of counteraction to trafficking in human beings in Ukraine, and with provision of assistance to victims, La Strada — Ukraine sent letters describing the situation to GRETA group and to the Special UN Speaker for the issues of trafficking in human beings, especially in women and children.
On July 30, 2011, a detailed message was sent to the UN Commission on the Status of Women informing that the problem of trafficking in human beings, and in women in particular, was ignored at the level of national policy of Ukraine.
Recommendations from the previous reports that were not implemented, or were implemented only partly, remain relevant even now. We provide the list of such recommendation and their status in 2011 in Table 4.
Status of implementation of the recommendation in 2011
To prepare the system of damages compensation for those who suffered from trafficking in human beings.
To introduce an effective strategy for counteraction to trafficking in human beings must combine legal measures and law enforcement with preventative, coordinating and supporting measures for victims and potential victims.
Continuing the piloting of the National Redirection Mechanism
To develop and introduce indicators that reflect how often trafficking in human beings occurs in the country, to create statistical database of the victims.
The intentions are declared in the draft State Program for counteraction to trafficking in human beings for 2011–2015.
To amend the Criminal Code of Ukraine in the part of establishing responsibility for using the services of children involved in prostitution, and for making child pornography for one’s own needs, as well as its storage and use.
There are proposals in the draft law No. 9540
To expand interaction and coordination of efforts of the government and of the public sector concerning the issue of trafficking in human beings — on the local, regional, national and international levels.
Coordination of activities is insufficient. In 2011, negative dynamics was observed.
To conduct informational campaigns to improve the level of awareness concerning the problem of trafficking in human beings.
The work continues. Yet these topics were not included into the list of topics of the first wave of the National campaign for Euro-2012 “Let’s Do It Together”, due to absence of a coordinating body. It is planned to include the topic into the second wave of this campaign.
To support the operation of “hot lines”, to inform potential migrants about the risks associated with crossing the border.
The situation is the same as in 2010. There was no governmental support of hot lines.
To develop criteria for identifying the persons who suffered from trafficking in human beings, with the goal of assigning them a status of victim.
The draft Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers was developed, yet not approved.
To change the procedure of interrogation and court testimony for victims, by means of replacing a personal testimony with a video record of testimony.
Recommendations as to assistance to victims are in the section on the issues of domestic violence. Taking into account the events of 2011, we add the following recommendations.
1. Founding the policy of counteraction to trafficking in human beings on the international documents, including the most recent recommendations of the UN Committee on the Liquidation of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, using progress indicators and allocating governmental financing.
2. Inviting independent experts and the NGOs that work in the sphere of counteraction to trafficking in human beings for participation in developing enactments that regulate operation of the national mechanism for redirection.
3. Continuing the follow-up work and lobbying for adoption of the State Program for counteraction to trafficking in human beings for 2012–2016, adjustment of the developed project and its indicators.
4. Development of drafts laws necessary for harmonizing the legislation of Ukraine into compliance with the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.
5. Preparing of the scholarly and legal commentary for the Law “On Counteraction to Trafficking in Human Beings”.
6. Adoption of the standards concerning services in the sphere of counteraction to trafficking in human beings on the national level.
7. Preparing information from NGOs to the UN Committee on the Liquidation of All Forms of Discrimination against Women as to implementation of Clause 33 of the Final notes of the Committee on the results of presentation by Ukraine of the sixths and seventh periodical report in compliance with the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
8. Preparing information from NGOs to the UN Human Rights Council concerning activities related to counteraction to trafficking in human beings for the second universal periodical review for human rights.
9. Monitoring over implementation in 2012 of the provisions of the Base directions of economic and social development of Ukraine in the sphere of counteraction to trafficking in human beings.
10. Monitoring over implementation of the Law of Ukraine “On Counteraction to Trafficking in Human Beings”.
 Prepared by K. Levchenko — International Women’s Rights Center “La Strada-Ukraine”.
 http://la-strada.org.ua/ucp_mod_materials_show_93.html, http://motilek.com.ua/index.php/2010-03-04-07-14-12/1327-2011-04-30-06-05-42
 3. http://radiosvoboda.org/content/article/24378968.html
 “Uniformed Pimps” — http://umdpl.info/index.php?id=1320911004, http://tema.in.ua/article/6806.html
 Together with the network of partner NGOs all over Ukraine, during the period from January 2000 to September 2011, the IOM re-integration program provided assistance to 7,954 victims (611 — during the 9 months of 2011); this assistance based on individual needs of each victim included legal consultations and representation in criminal and civil legal procedures; medical and psychological help, providing shelter, vocational training, small grants programs for victims of trafficking in human beings, who want to start their own business, as well as other forms of assistance. Since 2002, the IOM has been running the Medical Rehabilitation Center, one of a kind in Ukraine, that provides comprehensive medical services and psychological support free of charge and on the basis of safety and confidentiality. Since 2002 to 2010, more than 1,700 victims used the services of the Center (http://iom.org.ua/ua/activities/counteraction to-human-trafficking.html).
 During the period of time from 1997 to 2011, La Strada Center provided assistance to 1,989 persons. During 2011, assistance was provided to 109 victims of trafficking in human beings, violence, including domestic violence, both in Ukraine and abroad, to persons in difficult circumstances, etc. In connection with the development of informational technologies and expansion of public service announcements online, during 2011, about 1000 consultations were given online.
 The administrative reform, disbandment of the Ministry of Family, Youth And Sports of Ukraine, which coordinated the issues of counteraction to trafficking in human beings, absence of activities on this problem in the charters of other central executive bodies, failure to adopt the state program for counteraction to trafficking in human beings, absence of systematic legislation pertaining counteraction to trafficking in human beings — these issues became the basis for the message to the international institution http://la-strada.org.ua/ucp_mod_news_list_show_120.html