Tag Archive: Ukraine

Humanitarian Crisis In Ukraine Is Turning Into Human Trafficking Crisis: UN Envoy

June 24, 2022

New York [US], June 6 (ANI/Xinhua): The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is turning into a human trafficking crisis, warned Pramila Patten, the UN secretary-general’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, on Monday.

From the outset of the conflict, heightened risks of trafficking in persons, including for purposes of sexual exploitation and prostitution, have been alarmingly evident, Patten said.

The lack of consistent vetting of accommodation offers and transportation arrangements is a serious concern, as well as the limited capacity of protection services to address the velocity and volume of displacement, she told a UN Security Council meeting on conflict-related sexual violence and human trafficking in the context of the Ukraine conflict.

There are also concerns regarding the multiplicity of volunteers, with limited vetting, and little or no training or experience, she added.

In her visit to a Tesco supermarket-converted receiving center for Ukrainian refugees in Przemysl, Poland, she found “grave security and protection concerns” in a facility run by volunteers, and with only a “bare-bones presence” of UN agencies.

Humanitarian staff at the site gave credible anecdotal accounts of attempted human trafficking, said Patten. With minimal security screening, a man registered as a volunteer at the Tesco center in the afternoon and entered the “French room” where refugees were waiting for transport to France. At that time, he made contact with a 19-year-old woman, whom he later woke up in the sleeping hall at 2 a.m., offering a ride to France, she said.

Read the full story on The Print.

Cardinal Nichols: Ukrainian Mothers & Children Rescued From Human Traffickers

June 9, 2022

Nearly 30 mothers and children were rescued after a bus intending to traffic them was stopped when a mother called a number she received from an anti-trafficking leaflet.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, shared this as an example of a best practice implemented to combat the scourge of anti-trafficking as part of the efforts of the Santa Marta Group.

The English Cardinal who leads the Santa Marta Group was speaking at a press conference in Vatican Radio’s headquarters, following the Group’s encounter with Pope Francis on Thursday morning in the Vatican.

Enormous challenge

Responding to the question from Vatican News on how the war in Ukraine has impacted human trafficking and their best practices, Cardinal Nichols recalled very informative and inspiring reports from the police forces of Poland and Lithuania.

“It is just an enormous challenge,” he noted, stressing the war in Ukraine has caused the largest movement of people in a short time across borders in Europe for 60 or 70 years.

“A positive” aspect which the Cardinal shared was “that because of some of the partnerships that have already been established, within a matter of hours, leaflets had been prepared warning those who were crossing the border against the dangers of being trafficked.”

Saving real people

Those leaflets, he noted, had a contact number, and one of them was passed out to a Ukrainian woman who then narrowly avoided falling into the hands of human traffickers.

This, he said, is a specific example of the many “stories of speedy action attributed to existing patterns of cooperation.”

The Cardinal warned that authorities are fighting an uphill battle.

“It was pointed out to us that, to begin with, the better-educated, probably better-off people, were those able to get to the border,” he noted, explaining that “those coming now are the poorer people who have less resilience and fewer resources.” He acknowledged that “the strain is being felt everywhere.”

Read the full article by Deborah Castellano Lubov on Vatican News.

How The Sex Trade Preys On Ukraine’s Refugees

April 10, 2022

Five weeks into Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, imagine for a moment what it’s like to live there now.

Bombs, bloodshed, trauma. No school for your children, no healthcare for your parents, no safe roof over your head in many parts of the country.

Would you try to run? Ten million Ukrainians have, according to the United Nations.

Most seek refuge in other areas of Ukraine, believed to be safer. But more than three and a half million people have fled over the border.

They are mainly women and children, as men under the age of 60 are obliged by the Ukrainian government to stay put and fight.

Displaced and disoriented, often with no idea where to go next, refugees are forced to put their trust in strangers.

The chaos of war is now behind them, but the truth is, they’re not entirely safe outside Ukraine either.

“For predators and human traffickers, the war in Ukraine is not a tragedy,” UN Secretary General António Guterres warned on Twitter. “It’s an opportunity – and women and children are the targets.”

Trafficking rings are notoriously active in Ukraine and neighbouring countries in peace time. The fog of war is perfect cover to increase business.

Karolina Wierzbińska, a coordinator at Homo Faber, a human rights organisation based in Lublin, told me children were a huge concern.

Many youngsters were travelling out of Ukraine unaccompanied, she said. Patchy registration processes in Poland and other border regions – especially at the start of the war – meant children disappeared, their current whereabouts unknown.

My colleagues and I headed down to the Polish-Ukrainian border to see for ourselves.

At a train station, well known for refugee arrivals, we found a hive of activity. Dazed-looking women and crying children were all around.

Read the full story by Katya Adler on BBC News.

Pope Says ‘Slaughters and Atrocities’ Committed Daily in Ukraine

March 27, 2022

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis, continuing his implicit criticism of Russia, called the conflict in Ukraine an unjustified “senseless massacre” and urged leaders to stop “this repugnant war”.

“The violent aggression against Ukraine is unfortunately not slowing down,” he told about 30,000 people in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly Sunday address and blessing.

“It is a senseless massacre where every day slaughters and atrocities are being repeated,” Francis said in his latest strong condemnation of the war, which has so far avoided mentioning Russia by name.

“There is no justification for this,” he added.

Moscow says the action it launched on Feb. 24 is a “special military operation” designed not to occupy territory but to demilitarise its neighbour and purge it what it sees as dangerous nationalists. Francis has already rejected that terminology.

“I beg all the players in the international community to truly commit themselves to stopping this repugnant war,” the pope said, drawing loud cheers and applause from the crowd.
Read the full story by Philip Pullella on U.S.News & World Report.

Ukraine: Increasing Concerns Over Human Trafficking

March 24, 2022

No sooner had the first missiles been fired over the skies in Ukraine and thousands of people began to flee, than there was evidence that criminal gangs linked to human trafficking were on the move along border routes.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM ) around 1.5 million children, who are especially vulnerable to human trafficking, have fled Ukraine.

In a statement, the agency said: “Instances of sexual violence have already been reported and among the individuals promising onward transportation or services, there have been indications of potential exploitation.”

Aid agencies like Caritas Ukraine are supporting women and children crossing the border into neighbouring countries like Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary, to try to prevent human trafficking.

“Right now, there is a very high risk that people might become a human slave,” said Vladyslav Shelokov, Caritas Ukraine’s Resource Mobilisation Director.

Risks to refugees

Sr Imelda Poole, IBVM, is President of RENATE, a network of women religious combatting human trafficking, and is based in Albania. Speaking to Vatican Radio, she said there have been accounts of transnational criminal gangs working in vans along these routes.

“Women and children are really vulnerable, and also we do know from our sisters and colleagues working in Ukraine itself that sadly even in the basements where refugees are trying to keep safe there seemed to be some risks there too, and there have been some known rapes of women in the basements.”

Read the full article by Lydia O’Kane on Vatican News.