With ongoing displacement from war-torn areas in Ukraine, the risks for exploitation and trafficking in human beings also continue to rise. To better understand which groups of people are particularly at risk and why, La Strada International (LSI) in partnership with Freedom Fund undertook a rapid assessment of the current gaps in the counter-trafficking response.
Research conducted by LSI in March and April this year found that unaccompanied children, women* and girls*, undocumented people and those without access to temporary protection in EU countries are the most vulnerable. And the dangers will increase as the war continues. More and more people are being displaced within Ukraine and access to services and livelihoods is becoming increasingly insecure, while at the same time millions of refugees are settling in other European countries for longer periods of time and need to access the labour market.
While governments, international and civil society organisations have taken measures to protect refugees from trafficking, gaps remain due to limited capacity to implement them.
These gaps include delayed access to support, housing, basic income and regular employment, lack of psychosocial support, and insufficient resources and funding to address these shortcomings, in addition to access to coordinated information for refugees.
Measures recommended by the report include awareness-raising training on trafficking in human beings and capacity building of migration authorities, volunteers and first responders, registration of refugees to ensure rapid access to protection measures, provision of easily accessible information on risks and support services (Ukrainian, Russian), registration and vet of support services and volunteers (transport, accommodation) and screening of shelters for suitability and safety, especially for vulnerable groups, and provision of psychosocial support and trauma care.