Hope for Justice and Slave-Free Alliance were delighted to be among 52 civil society organisations from 30 countries participating in a two-day International Conference in Vienna, organised by the OSCE on the theme of ‘Preventing human trafficking and increasing identification of and assistance to victims amid refugee flows from Ukraine: the role of civil society and anti-trafficking hotlines’.
Alongside Phillipa Roberts (Head of Policy & Research, Hope for Justice) and Andrew Wallis OBE (Unseen UK), and representing many more UK organisations, we had the honour of facilitating a workshop discussion on the “Ukrainians Welcome” project, outlining positive practices and lessons learned from the United Kingdom in collaboration and partnership, and the opportunities for leveraging technology in future responses.
The conference was a valuable opportunity to connect with peers and leaders from across the OSCE region, all committed to trauma-informed, gender-sensitive, and age-appropriate responses to human trafficking. It was especially inspiring to meet colleagues operating within Ukraine and its surrounding regions, who continue to show remarkable resilience in an ongoing state of crisis.
We noted greater calls for coordination, understanding of the specific needs of refugee communities, the prevalence of labour exploitation in the context of Ukrainians, and the need for better data collection and analysis. We look forward to seeing these critical themes driven further across all areas of international counter-trafficking in the coming year.
Thank you to Kari Johnstone, Andrea Salvoni, Tetiana Rudenko, Alessia Vedano, Liliia Egelriede and the whole OSCE team for facilitating such a rich event. We look forward to joining you all again soon.