UN Warns War in Ukraine Causing Human Trafficking to Rise in Europe
The War in Ukraine Drives Human Trafficking in Europe, Warns UN Report
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released a new report this Tuesday (01.24.2023) in Vienna that warns of the Russian invasion of Ukraine driving human trafficking in Europe.
According to Angela Me, the lead author of UNODC’s 2022 annual report on treats, “Conflict is a risk factor for human trafficking, because it puts people in a very vulnerable place, so they can be exploited by traffickers.” Most victims of trafficking are from sub-Saharan Africa, however, the current conflict in Ukraine allegedly increases the risk of human trafficking exponentially.
UNODC estimated that Ukrainian victims of trafficking could be as much as 5% of the total number of people who fall into trafficking networks in Europe, five times more than before the start of the war in February 2022. “Already in 2014 we saw how the conflict in Ukraine unleashed more victims. Then, the number of people fleeing Ukraine was much lower (compared to now),” Me explained.
Highlighting the difficulty in prosecuting traffickers, the UNODC report detailed data of almost 190,000 victims of trafficking detected between 2017 and 2020 around the world. Trafficking, a modern-day form of slavery, is the capture and retention of a person in order to exploit them. This can take the form of sexual or labor exploitation, or even forced-begging.
This report urges countries to improve anti-trafficking training for military personnel, United Nations personnel, and blue helmets in conflict zones. Moreover, the report calls for victims to have more access to essential services and humanitarian support.
The conflict in Ukraine has had a negative impact on Europe, driving even more people into human trafficking. This report calls for more international collaboration to prosecute traffickers and for more safety for those who fall subject to trafficking.