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Anti-trafficking in Times of War

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, more than 8 million internally displaced Ukrainians have become more vulnerable to human traffickers as they have had to:

  • flee to another city, region or even another country to find shelter or a new house;
  • look for transport to move from the areas affected by hostilities;
  • look for a new job.

As a response to the growing risks of human trafficking, the European Union together with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), during April-June 2022, implemented all-Ukrainian awareness-raising campaign in order to:

  • draw the attention of Ukrainians to the problem of human trafficking;
  • raise awareness of the risks of trafficking during the war;
  • ensure that people understand that anyone is at risk of being trafficked;
The campaign was aimed at calling the 527 hotline (for Ukraine only) to prevent human trafficking through step-by-step guides on how to be safe while fleeing the war, and highlighting real and emotional stories as well as influencers promoting risks mitigation activities.

Difficult life circumstances push people to take risky decisions and accept risky offers of help with shelter, transportation or employment, which can lead to labour, sexual and other forms of exploitation.

In order to mitigate human trafficking risks, people should know how to stay safe or call the 527 hotline for consultations.

With this purpose infographics with five safety markers have been developed.

  1. Documents – Provide documents only to officials and keep electronic copies.
  2. Transport – Know where you are going and tell your family or friends about the trip.
  3. Help – Only accept help from people and organisations that are trustworthy.
  4. Interaction – Be careful with strangers and do not give anyone a cell phone.
  5. Communication – Keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues. Notify of any changes to your itinerary, place of residence, or work. Agree with them on a code word or phrase that will signal that you are in danger.
The idea of the campaign was also supported by the team of the ‘Breakfast with 1+1’ program and its hosts Yehor Hordeyev and Lyudmyla Barbir. As part of a joint TV project, a series of TV spots were broadcast about the five safety markers showing the real stories of Ukrainians.
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