UN Migration Agency Names Ukrainian Eurovision Winner as National Anti-Trafficking Goodwill Ambassador

Posted: 
10/13/17

Kyiv – The Ukrainian singer and winner of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016, Jamala, has been named a counter-trafficking Goodwill Ambassador for IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in Ukraine. The partnership was launched through her support of the public service campaign Danger Might be Invisible at First.

The campaign was officially presented in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, yesterday (12/10). A video, which is part of the campaign, will start airing on Ukrainian TV channels on 18 October, marking the European Union Anti-Trafficking Day. In addition to the television campaign, an outdoor campaign will be launched nationwide.

“Many people in Ukraine earn poverty level salaries and are willing to work anywhere and under any conditions. They are the ones who most often fall prey to human traffickers and end up exploited,” said the singer.  “Unfortunately, the number of victims is growing every year, and while this campaign will not solve the problem, it will draw the attention of media, State and the general public. The main goal is to warn Ukrainians that they need to be careful when considering job offers abroad.”

A recent IOM survey revealed that one fifth of the Ukrainian population say that they would be willing to cross a border illegally, work in locked premises and hand over their passports to an employer. “This means that a fairly large share of the population is prone to risky behaviour which may lead to them being exploited,” explained Thomas Lothar Weiss, IOM Ukraine Chief of Mission. “We greatly appreciate Jamala’s involvement in our campaign aimed at prevention of modern slavery. We believe that her engagement in trafficking prevention will help save many lives,” said Weiss.

Research commissioned by IOM Ukraine estimates that over 230,000 Ukrainians have been victims of human trafficking since 1991. Since January 2000, IOM Ukraine has helped nearly 14,000 of them to recover from the experience and rebuild their lives. During the first half of 2017 alone, the IOM Mission in Ukraine identified 639 persons who had suffered from labour and sexual exploitation in 23 countries, including Ukraine. This number represents a jump of 30 per cent compared to the same period in 2016.

Danger Might be Invisible at First, launched by IOM and Jamala, is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and endorsed by the Ukraine’s Ministries of Social Policy and Internal Affairs.

Jamala has had a long association with IOM Ukraine, having been the face of the local MTV EXIT campaign, conducted in partnership with IOM, aimed at raising awareness about human trafficking and safe migration. She presented real-life stories of victims of exploitation in a documentary entitled Trading Lives. Other international celebrities, such as Jared Leto and Angelina Jolie, were also faces of similar campaigns.

For more information, please contact Varvara Zhluktenkoat IOM Ukraine, Tel: +38 044 568 50 15 or 067 447 97 92, email: vzhluktenko@iom.int

  • A poster for Ukraine's anti-trafficking public service campaign, 'Danger Might be Invisible at First' featuring Jamala, Ukrainian singer and winner of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016. Jamala is IOM’s new counter-trafficking Goodwill Ambassador in Ukraine. 

  • The video featuring Jamala, Ukraine's 2016 Eurovision winner, will start airing on Ukrainian TV channels on 18 October, marking the European Union Anti-Trafficking Day.

  • A poster for Ukraine's anti-trafficking public service campaign, 'Danger Might be Invisible at First' featuring Jamala, Ukrainian singer and winner of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016.