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Human trafficking: how not to fall into the trap?

The problem of human trafficking has always been relevant not only for Ukraine but also for the whole world.

This issue is especially acute during the period of forced mass evacuation of people, when all countries simplify the border access regimes.

During the years of independence, more than 260,000 Ukrainian citizens have become a victim of human trafficking. But even these figures do not fully represent the full scale.

Unified statistics remain an unresolved issue, since each institutions as  the National Police, the Ministry of Social Policy, and the National Social Service operate with their own data.

The International assistance headquarters for Ukrainians have documented several attempts of human trafficking. We call on all refugees (especially young people and women with children) to be careful and follow simple safety rules.

Why is the problem critical now?

There is a war in our country. A large number of Ukrainians are trying to leave the country. Exploiters abuse such vulnerable situation, which mainly affects women and children. In addition, the information they receive is limited: many people do not understand the language of the country they are moving to. Therefore, scammers may propose dubious offers disguised as assistance and employment.

One of the main reasons that pushes Ukrainians to leave is the economy. Often people are at a dead end, so they accept risky offers.

Today, the risks of being trafficked increase. You need to be careful, try to carefully check the information, record all contacts. If possible, you should inform your family members about your movements, geolocation and current state of affairs.

Basic recommendations:

  • Keep your passport with you. Only show it to border guards at the checkpoint. It is desirable to store it not just in a bag, but somewhere close to the body.
  • If possible, take a photo of your passport and send it to people you trust.
  • Do not get in the car alone.
  • If possible, find information on who will be transporting you. Take a picture of the car, its number, if possible – the documents of those who organize transportation.
  • Agree on a specific code word, sign or signal that will mean danger and a request for help.
  • At the slightest suspicion, report to social services and / or organizations: police, border guards, volunteers, humanitarian workers, etc.

Ways to combat the problem of human trafficking:

  • Preventive measures: informing the population about possible risks and dangers.
  • Bringing traffickers to justice at all stages: recruitment, relocation, exploitation, etc.
  • Reducing the demand and operational capabilities.
  • Reducing the vulnerability and strengthen the protection of citizens, in particular those who seek for employment.

Anti-trafficking hotlines

Poland (Helpline) +48 22 628 99 99

Czech Republic +420 222 721 810, +420 222 717 171, 8 000 777 77

Bulgaria 0800 186 76

Slovakia (hotline for citizens of Ukraine) +421 918 366 968

Moldova 0 800 77777 (calls from Moldova), +373 22 23 33 09 (calls from abroad).

Non-governmental organization La Strada Ukraine

The organization works in several directions, one of which is combating human trafficking.

116 123 – National Hotline for Prevention of Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking, Gender Discrimination. You can also contact us through the Messenger, Telegram if you require advice, psychological and legal support,

La Strada Ukraine provides contact information on organizations in those countries where the largest flow of our citizens is observed: Poland, Moldova, the Czech Republic.