As a post-Soviet country that has witnessed dramatic economic decline, Ukraine faces several unique challenges. Almost 30 percent of Ukraine's population lives below the poverty line. Limited economic opportunities compel men and women to look for work abroad, which places them at high risk of exploitation.
Address new challenges faced in countering trafficking in persons in Ukraine and present a targeted intervention towards a strong national counter-trafficking response.
USAID works in partnership with Ukraine to fight trafficking in persons (TIP). An estimated 120,000 people have been trafficked in Ukraine since 1991, including men, women, and children. USAID has supported efforts in Ukraine to counter trafficking in persons since 1998, including protection and prevention activities and legislation development.
The Countering Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) initiative is a part of a broader U.S. Government effort to address the crime of human trafficking. The initiative aims to reduce trafficking in Ukraine by increasing awareness and mobilizing the government, community leaders, and service providers to engage in CTIP interventions. USAID assistance also aims to increase expertise in addressing TIP, disseminate best international practices, inform and motivate risk groups on how to protect themselves, and assist victims through rehabilitation programs.
USAID provides assistance through the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mission in Ukraine to increase the capacity of NGOs and relevant Government of Ukraine (GOU) personnel to identify, refer, and assist victims of trafficking (VoTs). Efforts focus on engaging partners on TIP prevention, and the development of a functional and sustainable National Referral Mechanism (NRM) promoting an intergovernmental coordinated assistance effort for VoTs. Efforts also focus on ensuring sustainable assistance and reintegration of VoTs, while providing economic opportunities for VoTs and selected at-risk groups.
Protection of Victims of Trafficking
In 2013, 500 representatives of relevant local state administrations, state services, NGOs and other stakeholders were trained on how to identify, refer, and assist VoTs as part of pilot efforts to implement the NRM. As a result, local state administrations to the Ministry of Social Policy (MSP) effectively helped 54 VoTs to register with the MSP, since regulations were adopted in 2012.
In 2013, USAID activities to protect victims included comprehensive assistance to 150 newly registered VoTs. The number of men assisted remained high in 2013 at 52 percent. Through 2013, USAID had assisted more than 1,400 VOTs, of whom nearly 90 percent had completed a reintegration training program, found employment, or returned to school, which are significant indications of successful reintegration.
In 2013, anti-trafficking prevention efforts increased the capacity of the education system to provide early career counseling services to at-risk groups, through the Career. Profession. Success. curriculum, which helped high school students better understand their professional options after graduation. A toll-free national counter-trafficking and migrant advice number launched with the major mobile operators has assisted over 107,000 callers. Borderland, a travelling exhibition, using comic strips to depict the stories of real trafficking victims has been exhibited in four oblasts and viewed by over 10,000 people.
A prominent joint initiative with MTV EXIT produced a new documentary Trading Lives, hosted by a popular Ukrainian pop singer, provides insight into the human trafficking trade through first-hand accounts from victims, and recommends options that young people can take to stay safe when considering work abroad.
Last updated: August 26, 2014