A former victim of trafficking made art installation "Invisible in Plain Sight’ to raise awareness of modern-day slavery.
A former victim of trafficking made art installation "Invisible in Plain Sight’ to raise awareness of modern-day slavery. He produced 120 wooden silhouettes symbolizing the 120,000 Ukrainians estimated to have been trafficked abroad since the early 1990s.
Courtesy of USAID's Counter Trafficking in Persons Project


Ukraine has been source, transit and increasingly destination country for human trafficking since the early 1990s. Men, women, and children are trafficked for the purposes of forced labor, sexual exploitation, forced begging and other forms of exploitation. The main countries of destination have been the Russian Federation, Poland and Turkey.

Ukraine continues to cope with mass displacement from the Donbas Region and Crimea. Internally-displaced persons (IDPs) have been particularly targeted by unscrupulous intermediaries who offered brokerage services for emigration and receiving refugee status abroad. Nine cases of trafficking (or attempted trafficking) of IDPs have been recorded by IOM as of December 2015.

According to a survey (conducted by GfK Ukraine in 2015), the share of Ukrainian labor migrants working abroad unofficially has increased from 28% in 2011 to almost 41% in 2015. Furthermore, 21% of potential labor migrants would agree to cross the border illegally, work in locked premises, or give their passports to their employer; four years ago, this vulnerable group comprised 14% of all potential labor migrants.


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 160,000* persons have been trafficked from Ukraine since 1991. USAID has supported Ukraine’s efforts to counter trafficking in persons since 1998, including protection and prevention activities and legislation development.

* according to a research commissioned by International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mission in Ukraine


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 human trafficking in Ukraine by increasing awareness of population 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, empower vulnerable groups to make informed decisions, and provide rehabilitation services to trafficking survivors. 


USAID provides assistance through the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mission in Ukraine to increase the capacity of civil society and relevant Government of Ukraine personnel to identify, refer and assist victims of trafficking (VoTs). Efforts focus on engaging partners on TIP prevention and development of a functional and sustainable National Referral Mechanism (NRM) promoting an intergovernmental coordinated assistance. While supporting sustainable reintegration of VoTs, the project also offers economic opportunities for VoTs and selected at-risk groups.

Protection of Victims of Trafficking

In 2015, 1,000 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 the NRM capacity building interventions. As of December, 2015, 164 persons have been granted official victim of trafficking status and received state assistance, since the launch of the National Referral Mechanism for assisting victims of trafficking in the fall of 2012.  

Starting 2014, USAID-funded activities to protect victims included comprehensive assistance to 300 newly registered VoTs. The number of men assisted remained high at 58 percent in 2015. Most of the victims identified in 2015 are under the age of 35. Through 2015, USAID had assisted more than 1,400 VOTs, of whom nearly 95 percent had completed a reintegration training program, found employment, or returned to school, which are significant indications of successful reintegration.

In 2012-2015, more than 100 former victims have benefited from USAID funding through the Micro-Enterprise Development Program, setting up 58 micro-enterprises and thus creating new jobs and services in their communities.


Responding to the prevalence of young adults among identified VoTs in 2015, trafficking prevention efforts focused special attention on reaching out to young audiences. Interactive computer-based CTIP training was presented to educators and promoted in educational institutions nation-wide.

In 2015, addressing vulnerability of IDPs to migration-related fraud and human trafficking, IOM, through USAID-funded project, supported CT NGOs initiatives in Donetsk, Lugansk, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Poltava and Cherkasy Oblasts aimed at raising awareness about risks of human trafficking among IDPs.

A toll-free National Counter-Trafficking and Migrant Advice Hotline has provided consultations to over 17,800 callers in 2015. Twenty three callers were identified as victims of trafficking and referred to local NGOs for assistance.

Last updated: July 14, 2016

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