Trafficking in Persons

U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch greets beneficiaries of the Economic Empowerment Program representing a variety of business spheres
U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch greets beneficiaries of the Economic Empowerment Program representing a variety of business spheres from different regions of Ukraine gathered in Kyiv on 24 June 2017 for a BizFair – Business Fair & Forum – an event organized by IOM, and funded by USAID.
Courtesy of USAID Counter Trafficking in Persons Project


Ukraine has been a 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 is now facing an increase in the scale of human trafficking, resulting from the high number of persons fleeing the Donbas Region and Crimea to other regions of Ukraine and to other countries. The displaced population is extremely vulnerable, and requires targeted safe migration and trafficking prevention advice, as they are particularly targeted by unscrupulous intermediaries who offer brokerage services for emigration and receiving refugee status abroad.


Address new challenges faced in countering trafficking in persons in Ukraine and present targeted interventions for a strong national counter-trafficking response.


According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an estimated 160,000 people have been trafficked in Ukraine since 1991.  To fight this form of modern-day slavery, USAID is working in partnership with IOM, the Government of Ukraine, and local civil society organizations (CSOs) to counter trafficking in persons. 


USAID’s Counter Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) Program, implemented by IOM, works with key stakeholders to increase their capacity to advocate for, raise awareness of, identify, refer, and assist victims of trafficking (VoTs).

Advocacy: USAID, IOM, and our civil society partners are working closely with the Ministry of Social Policy to provide expert analysis and input into Ukraine’s Law on Counter-Trafficking in Persons, the National CTIP Referral Mechanism, and the new State CTIP Program for 2016-2020.  USAID’s partners are actively engaged in advocacy to ensure draft policies, regulations, and legislation focus on our four CTIP principles of Prevention, Prosecution, Protection, and Partnership.

Awareness raising: USAID’s partners raise awareness about the risks of trafficking among Ukrainians through creative and innovative campaigns at the grassroots and national levels using peer-to-peer approaches, art, and media. For example, the “Dimensions3” public art installation highlighted the plight of trafficked persons and has visited 14 cities across Ukraine in 2016-2017 .

Capacity Building: USAID works in 10 regions of Ukraine to build local capacity to implement Ukraine’s National Referral Mechanism.  More than 3,600 representatives of local governments, CSOs and other stakeholders have trained on how to identify, refer, and assist VOTs.  USAID is also continuing its support to the 28-member strong Ukrainian NGO Coalition against Human Trafficking to enable the coalition to advocate for improved prevention, prosecution, and protection of VOTs.

Reintegration: Since 2004, USAID has assisted more than 4,300 VOTs reintegrate back into their communities and economies.  In 2016, USAID directly supported nearly 330 VOTs with education, vocational training, business training, and entrepreneurial micro-grants.  By the end of the year, some 90% of recipients were either employed or studying, demonstrating strong reintegration.

Prevention: Responding to the prevalence of young adult victims, USAID’s trafficking prevention efforts focus special attention on reaching out to young audiences. An interactive, computer-based CTIP training was endorsed by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and introduced into the educational system throughout 2016.  Other outreach efforts by the USAID program reach a total audience of over 15 million Ukrainians yearly.

USAID continues to support a toll-free National Counter-Trafficking and Migrant Advice Hotline, which provides advice and referrals to over 15,000 callers yearly.

Last updated: December 14, 2017

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