Has the recent conflict between Ukraine and Russia caused an increase of human trafficking within Ukrainian residents fleeing war? This post aims to provide a discussion on how local organisations and volunteers are protecting vulnerable citizens.
There is no ‘specific’ profile for potential victims of human trafficking. Victims can be of any age, any gender or from any cultural background. Certain populations are more vulnerable, including runaway and homeless individuals, those fleeing violence or natural disasters, and those who have suffered from other types of abuse or exploitation in their lifetime (Engage Together, ND). Traffickers specifically exploit vulnerabilities that many people already face by using compelling stories of a better life, such as false economic opportunities or emotional support.
Undoubtedly, those women and children feeling from the current war in Ukraine are at tremendous risk of human trafficking due to the sudden increase of vulnerability these citizens are facing. IOM Ukraine’s Chief of Missions stated, “We know how quickly the criminal world adjusts to changing realities and finds new victims. We call on Ukrainians and other nationals leaving Ukraine to stay alert and be cautious when on the move, at a new place or at home” (The Cube, 2022).