“While efforts to find a resolution to the war are ongoing, concerted and evidence-based measures by the international community, as well as by state and non-state organizations, can ensure that vulnerabilities to trafficking in Ukraine are alleviated, by ensuring access to safety and essential services. For people fleeing Ukraine and seeking safety in neighbouring countries and further afield, legal entry and legal status are crucial in preventing both migrant smuggling and human trafficking.” – UNODC, Conflicts in Ukraine Key Evidence on Risks of Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants
The risks around modern slavery and conflict are well documented. In March 2022, over 60 organisations and individuals across the US, UK and Europe signed an open letter calling on the international community to prevent trafficking and protect refugees by ensuring that all responses to this crisis include a Counter Trafficking Strategy.
This should include but not be limited to:
(a) the training of all frontline agencies and citizens in spotting the signs of human trafficking to help prevent human trafficking and support victims and survivors;
(b) wider prevention measures including safe and legal routes for those fleeing the conflict;
(c) identification and restorative measures to enable the active identification of potential victims and ensure that survivors receive holistic trauma informed care;
(d) measures to enable perpetrator accountability including through criminal and civil proceedings;
(e) receiving countries support those fleeing the conflict in their financial, coordination and technical support of refugees and their protection from human trafficking, including the safe
repatriation and return of citizens to their communities when safe to do so.
The OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings has also detailed a list of recommendations and identifies the need to increase anti-trafficking prevention efforts in the midst of mass migration flows.
This paper is not intended to criticise any agency but to support efforts to understand risks and how risks can be mitigated short, medium and long term. This document identifies the risks as of 1st April 2022.
It is not an exhaustive list and regular changes to the situation, updates on government and wider guidance, as well as, improvements on policy and practice over time will mitigate these risks.
Download the Rapid Assessment to see all the Identified Risks and the Mitigation Measures (Short-term, and Medium to Long-term)