IOM Responds to Growing Human Trafficking Threat in Ukraine

Ukraine - IOM has marked the 9th European Union (EU) Anti-Trafficking Day (18/10) by warning of the growing vulnerability of Ukrainians to human trafficking, as an increasing number admit to working abroad unofficially or say that they are willing to accept risky job offers.

To raise awareness on the dangers of modern-day slavery and educate the public on basic trafficking prevention measures, the IOM Mission in Ukraine has launched a new counter-trafficking website,

This new website contains a wealth of trafficking prevention information and self-education resources, making them easily accessible for varied audiences, particularly young people. Examples include an interactive counter-trafficking course (in Ukrainian, English and Russian), the IOM-supported documentary Trading Lives, useful recommendations and contact information of organizations providing assistance.

The website is mobile-friendly, and its visitors are encouraged to both learn about human trafficking and share the most interesting and important facts, thereby helping spread safe travel and migration messages among their social networks.

“We have been putting increasing emphasis on raising public awareness of human trafficking in the past year, as the difficult living conditions many Ukrainians are facing these days make them more likely to take on risky job offers abroad and to accept working conditions they would normally reject,” said IOM Ukraine Chief of Mission Manfred Profazi. “The launch of an attractive and engaging website is a vital component in helping reach out to the young audience under 35, which is the main risk group for human trafficking.”

Ukraine is a country of origin, transit and destination for trafficking in men, women and children. According to a study commissioned by IOM, over 160,000 Ukrainians have become victims to human trafficking since 1991. Since 2000, the IOM Mission in Ukraine has provided reintegration assistance to over 11,200 victims of trafficking who were exploited in more than 60 countries.

According to an IOM-commissioned representative population survey, conducted this year, the number of Ukrainian migrants working abroad irregularly has rapidly increased to almost 41 per cent compared to 28 per cent in 2011. “This is a worrying trend,” said Profazi.

According to the survey, every fifth potential labour migrant from Ukraine is now willing to cross the border illegally, work in locked premises, or give their passports to their employer. Four years ago, this vulnerable group that would have been inclined to take dubious job offers comprised only 14 per cent of potential labour migrants.

“The results of the survey reflect the impact of the economic crisis and the conflict in eastern Ukraine on the migration intentions of Ukrainians,” Profazi explained.

At particular risk are those Ukrainians who had to flee due to the conflict. There are about 1.5 million internally displaced persons officially registered in the country. IOM assists them with specially developed safe migration and trafficking prevention materials, as well as through free consultations available via an IOM-supported migrant advice hotline ‘527’.

For further information, please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel: +38 044 568 5015, +38 067 447 97 92, Email: