Julia Shvytkina
01 December 2022 12: 45
Headings: News Society

"Hot commodity": Ukrainian refugees and children are traded in Europe

The European Parliament said that trade in Ukrainians is well established, criminal networks operate between the countries of Europe and Central Asia.

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"Hot commodity": Ukrainian refugees and children are traded in Europe

Trade, as well as sexual and labor exploitation of Ukrainian refugees is on the rise. Representatives of non-governmental organizations and civil activists warned European parliamentarians about this during a meeting with the European Parliament, the newspaper reports. Euractiv.

According to a European lawyer and head of the women's rights committee Robert Bedron, the number of "suspicious" proposals regarding Ukrainian refugees is growing on the Internet. According to the latest data from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), since the start of the war in Ukraine  8,3 million Ukrainians left their country and 80% of them are women.

"65% of human trafficking cases involve women, usually for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Women and girls face economic hardship and physical insecurity," says Jo-Ann Bishop, Deputy Director of UN Women Europe, during the hearing.

According to her, the task for the authorities responsible for human trafficking is complicated by the fact that The attackers mainly recruit through Internet platforms.

"There are many attempts to recruit women and girls on social media," confirms her words Valiant Ritchie from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The Ukrainian refugee trade is already well established and criminal networks operate between Ukraine and the countries of Europe and Central Asia. After all, even before the war in March last year, the Commission reported that Ukrainians were among the most frequent victims of human trafficking within the EU.

Data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) show that in 2018, Ukrainian victims were trafficked to 29 countries.  But according to the Reuters news agency, since the beginning of the conflict the number of rapes of Ukrainian women increased by 260%.

The Director of UN Women Europe urged the EU to intensify the fight against human trafficking by supporting women's protection organizations on the ground.

"These are important elements of an anti-trafficking strategy"she stressed, before also calling for funding for structures dedicated to women who have been victims of violence.

Not only sexual, but also labor slavery

In addition to sexual exploitation, associations have informed MEPs about exploitation in the world of work.

Legally, Ukrainians have the right to work in the EU, thanks to temporary protection directive activated at the beginning of the conflict. But "some people end up in an informal circle," warned Suzanne Hoff from the Platform for International Cooperation for Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), citing cleaners as an example.

The urgency of the situation and the language barrier sometimes force refugees to accept undeclared and low-paid jobs. Therefore, the anti-trafficking authorities called on the EU to combat the exploitation of refugees and extend the EU directive to all other refugees, including Afghans and Belarusians.

For its part, the European Commission says it takes this issue very seriously.

The police, the judiciary and civil society have been specially trained to provide more effective support to victims.

Whether it's sexual exploitation or labor exploitation, a "total" approach is needed, she said during the hearing. Diana Schmitt, European Coordinator for Combating Human Trafficking.

The victims of human traffickers are also Ukrainian children, about it Wrote  El Mundo newspaper. According to the publication, the reason for this may be lack of proper border controls and inadequate registration of incoming refugees in some EU countries. According to the publication, five EU countries - Spain, Czech Republic, UK, Slovakia and Poland - do not register visiting Ukrainian children or claim that this information is confidential.

Recall that back in April, the human rights organization stated that Ukrainian refugees may be subjected to gender-based violence and abuse in Europeand become victims of human traffickers.

Earlier we wrote that, according to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, cruelty and torture are subjected to both Ukrainian and Russian soldiers who were taken prisoner. 

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