Women, Children Fleeing Ukraine Vulnerable to Human Trafficking

Ghoti Ichthus

Pray so they do not serve alone. Ephesians 6:10-20
Women, Children Fleeing Ukraine Vulnerable to Human Trafficking
"BRATISLAVA, Mar 30 2022 (IPS)\ - States must do more to protect women and children fleeing war in Ukraine, rights groups have urged, amid growing concerns they are falling prey to trafficking and sexual violence.
Since the Russian invasion on February 24, an estimated 3.5 million people have fled the country, while another 6.5 million have been internally displaced.
Local and international humanitarian organisations have warned these people – overwhelmingly women and children – are vulnerable to trafficking and gender-based violence within and outside the country as they make often long, dangerous journeys in a desperate bid to reach safety.
“Wherever people have to flee their homes, there will be vulnerabilities [for those fleeing]. The risks are rampant in any situation like that. We are deeply concerned about reports of trafficking and sexual violence,” Shabia Mantoo, spokesperson at UNHCR, told IPS.
Ukraine’s refugee crisis – described by the UN as the world’s fastest-growing since WWII – has seen millions of people flee to neighbouring states Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and Moldova.
While there has been a massive humanitarian response in those countries and across Europe and in other states, much of the help refugees have been given has been organised ad-hoc by aid groups and individual volunteers.
Organisations and volunteers working with refugees at border crossings and transit points have warned a lack of official organisation has left those arriving at serious risk of exploitation."

"The overwhelming majority of those trying to leave Ukraine are women and children – the UNHCR told IPS they make up as many as 90% of those fleeing the war – as a Ukrainian government order has banned men aged between 18 and 60 from leaving the country.
“What is different about this crisis of displaced people is that when you have women with children and old people, they have multiple responsibilities, and responsibilities have always been used by traffickers as a means of control – threats to family are made. But now, these can be made directly. That these women have multiple responsibilities makes them more vulnerable,” Eliza Galos, Migrant Protection and Assistance Programme Co-ordinator at International Organisation for Migration in Ukraine, told IPS.
Children are at particular risk, with a number of the latter often making journeys unaccompanied.
UNICEF has said in a statement that the war in Ukraine has displaced More than half of Ukraine’s children displaced after one month of war (unicef.org) 4.3 million children, with 1.8 million of those having crossed into neighbouring countries as refugees.
Missing Children Europe, an umbrella group for 24 child-protection organisations across Europe, has warned that many unaccompanied minors are disappearing at the borders.
“There are so many children […] that we lost track of,” Aagje Ieven, secretary-general of Missing Children Europe, told international media: “This is a huge problem, not just because it means they easily go missing, and are difficult to find, but also because it makes trafficking so easy.”
However, it is not just the people leaving Ukraine who are in danger of being exploited.
There are an estimated 6.5 million internally displaced people (IDPs) within Ukraine, and humanitarian groups say many among them are also at risk of falling into the hands of trafficking gangs or being subjected to sexual violence.
“Like refugees, IDPs are also facing threats. The threats to women are sexual violence and exploitation. For IDP children, for various reasons – for example, men having to stay in Ukraine and mothers being abroad working – we see many of them ending up travelling alone. We are worried about the risk of trafficking of these unaccompanied children,” Galos said."

More
https://reliefweb.int/report/slovakia/women-children-fleeing-ukraine-vulnerable-human-trafficking


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