Ukraine crisis: Helping to prevent human trafficking
The Chaos of War
The Salvation Army knows from our frontline experience of supporting survivors of modern slavery that human traffickers move quickly to take advantage of the chaos of war. Over the past ten years we’ve witnessed large numbers of people ending up in living in slave-like conditions in the UK having fled war zones in their home country.
It’s not just in our network of UK safe houses and outreach services for survivors of modern slavery that we see how war places people at greater risk of human trafficking. We are on the ground in refugee camps across Europe and over the years, our workers have witnessed for themselves human traffickers preying on these vulnerable people.
This could be men offering to pick young women up at the border; becoming aggressive if they do not accept help; offering accommodation to women with only one or no children; or offering accommodation and jobs from other parts of Europe via social media.
On the Ground in Eastern Europe
As we were already established in Ukraine and neighbouring countries before the current crisis, we have been hard at work since the start providing food, shelter, clothing, prayers and hope to people seeking safety and basic needs.
Our people and programmes in Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Romania, Moldova and other European countries are offering practical assistance, handing out urgent provisions at the border and supporting Ukraine’s people seeking shelter in their country.
Vigilance amongst aid workers and effective systems which enable people to swiftly access safety and support are critical right now.
We are there at the borders of Ukraine, helping to protect vulnerable people from becoming tomorrow’s victims of modern slavery and human trafficking.
Our team are:
- Using our pan-European network and contacts to get women and their children to a safe place.
- Sharing leaflets in Ukrainian to alert those fleeing to the risks of human trafficking.
- Engaging with anti-trafficking networks to share online updates on new trafficking trends and support to those at risk
- Ensuring our own modern slavery specialists across Europe are linked into our humanitarian aid response so this risk is addressed in everything we do.
For example we are:
- Helping refuges to validate job offers and following up with phone calls to check that people are safe.
- Helping co-ordinate accommodation in the Netherlands for those who have fled the conflict, providing buddies who will screen and support host families. They are also involved in setting up emergency shelters in hotels and empty buildings.