Human trafficking and labor exploitation of Ukrainians have been a serious problem for a long time. According to official data, more than 300,000 Ukrainians have suffered from human trafficking. Many of them had higher education.
However, with the onset of full-scale war, many of our citizens became even more vulnerable to this, primarily due to impoverishment and the threat of hostilities. As the majority of men are prohibited from traveling abroad from Ukraine due to the state of war, refugee women have now become the key victims among Ukrainians.
We spoke with law enforcement officers, experts, and victims of human trafficking and labor exploitation in Volyn, one of the transit regions of Ukraine, to understand how they face these crimes in new conditions.
According to experts and police officers, women willing to go to agricultural work are now frequent victims. They become victims of sexual exploitation, or various kinds of labor exploitation. Schemes are sometimes organized under the pretext of providing shelter to refugees.
To protect yourself, the police and public experts advise not to give your documents to anyone, always have copies of them, keep your mobile phone with you, and be suspicious of intrusive strangers’ attempts to help. Those who have become victims of human trafficking are advised not to be afraid to contact the police, as well as Ukrainian consulates abroad. Authorities promise protection and confidentiality for applicants.