IOM Launches Online Counter-Trafficking Course in Ukraine


Kyiv – A car accident ruined Taras’* life. He spent several months in hospital and lost his job. In desperate need of income, he came across a job advertisement from a farm owner who was looking for a cowherd. He took the job and stayed at the farm for 16 years, during which he was regularly beaten and humiliated, and only occasionally received his paltry salary.

After the farm owner died, Taras was finally given his passport back and told that he was free to go. He no longer had a home to return to, so a local IOM partner NGO provided him with shelter, where he had to learn basic life skills again. Taras received clothing, medical and psychological assistance from the UN Migration Agency.

To identify and assist more people like Taras, IOM and the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine developed a counter-trafficking e-course for government officials and NGO practitioners. The course, funded by USAID and Global Affairs Canada, was officially presented in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv on 20 November.

“Unfortunately, in many cases victims of trafficking prefer not to ask for help and remain invisible. That is why there is a constant need to reach out to more frontline practitioners – central and local social services, law enforcement officials, the State Migration Service and the State Employment Service, NGOs, teachers, medical staff and others who might help identify trafficking survivors,” said Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss, IOM Ukraine Chief of Mission.

“The newly developed online course serves this goal, providing modern and cost-effective alternatives to traditional seminars and workshops,” he added.

The IOM Mission in Ukraine has been countering trafficking in human beings for 20 years. In addition to direct assistance provided to almost 15,000 trafficking survivors, the UN Migration Agency supports government efforts, including training for the stakeholders of the National Referral Mechanism for Assisting Victims of Trafficking, established in Ukraine in 2012.

Taras was officially granted victim of trafficking status by the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine in June 2017. As IOM, its local partner NGO and state social services joined their efforts to help Taras, he received further assistance, including a complex ophthalmologic surgery. Now he earns a living as a handyman and is well respected by his colleagues. The NGO also helped to find his family, who had thought Taras had died long ago, and he finally met the grandchildren he had never seen.

*Name has been changed to protect privacy

For more information please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel. +38 044 568 50 15 or +38 067 447 97 92, Email:

  • IOM reintegration assistance to victims of trafficking in Ukraine (2000-2018)