The war in Ukraine and assessing related trafficking risks

Over the two months La Strada International and its members have closely monitored the situation related to the war in Ukraine. Members have worked on providing information and La Strada International has been working with Freedom Fund on a rapid assessment of risks and gaps in the anti-trafficking response, related to the prevention of human trafficking of refugees from Ukraine.

For this assessment numerous actors have been interviewed by La Strada International and a visit to Poland took place from 10-13 of April. This assessment report is expected to be published around 9 May 2022.

This assessment reviews the trafficking risks related to the outflow of Ukrainian refugees in Eastern and Central Europe, the extent to which these risks are being addressed by the agencies involved in the humanitarian response and the identification of the possible roles for anti-trafficking organizations, including Freedom fund, in addressing gaps that remain. The research will focus on answering the following main questions:

  • What are the main trafficking-related risks to Ukrainian refugees (including refugees formerly resident, but not citizens of, Ukraine)?
  • What are the actual or potential pathways into trafficking, and how do these vary according to age, gender, or other factors?
  • What has been the response to date of government, international organisations, civil society, and community leaders?

To answer these questions, La Strada International is conducting a desk review supplemented with interviews with relevant international and national stakeholders on the ground.

LSI also took up other activities and  joined the established Regional Protection Working Group: Task Force on Trafficking in Persons on the Ukrainian situation, chaired by UNHCR, which is composed of UN and other international organizations and other stakeholders involved in the response including civil society actors. In Ukraine, La Strada joined the protection cluster set up by UNHCR. In Poland, Moldova, Romania and other EU countries, LSI members joined national tasks forces and coordination structures temporary set up to coordinate effective responses to refugees.

La Strada International is further coordinating bi-weekly meetings with several European NGO Networks that work on protection and assistance of groups at risks, including Red Cross, Child Helplines International, Missing Children Europe, WAVE and others.