Ukraine: The 'Gate of Europe' is Hiding Something Sinister:Human Trafficking in Ukraine
Panel 1: Introduction
Panel 2: Human rights framework
Panel 3: Article one: Notorious Ukraine
Panel 4: Media one: A21 Expert: Youtube Video
Panel 5: Article two: UNIAN Labor article
Panel 6: Media two: International Aspect: OSCE video
Panel 7: Article three: Reliefweb
Panel 8: Article four: OCCRP
Panel 9: Article five: The other victims of war
Panel 10:Article six: 2017 statistics
Panel 11: Article seven: April 29, 2019
Panel 12: Article eight: Coming together: Ukraine and Wisconsin
Panel 13: Bibliography
Human trafficking is referred to as modern day slavery. Driven by illicit economies of supply and demand for men, women, and children alike, Ukraine has been one of the largest suppliers and destinations for human trafficking. No longer restricted to labor trafficking, Ukraine in particular has become a nation known for being the beginning location and a stop on the trail of horrors that these victims are forcibly taken on. The economy for human trafficking is a multi billion dollar one, and it’s roots in societies- especially one with a government as prone to corruption as Ukraine, is far from being ripped out. Human trafficking is one of the least visible forms of crime- the victims are often deceived into the work by being promised a better life. This portfolio aims to cover the issue- it’s origins, the truth of the issue, and how to better call attention to it in Ukraine. The most important thing to be done is to shine light on those that are hiding in the depths of their crime- to show that there are those that care about the issue, that these people are seen and heard and valued, and to uncover those that exploit these people, and hopefully bring them to justice, sooner rather than later.
Human Rights Framework
Because human trafficking in Ukraine is driven in part by international demand, it's important to understand the international legal framework that is put in place to protect and prevent more from becoming victims. This excerpt is from the preamble of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
It's important to note that this protocol has been passed by the UN General Assembly, and that it's language is directed towards deterrence at all stages, promising punishment for traffickers that is not necessarily being carried out.
"One of Europe's Most Notorious Sources of Human Trafficking"
One of the most important aspects of this article- in addition to it's coverage of the issue in a succinct and informative way- is the way it ties in two of the most distinct parts of Ukraine being a stronghold in human trafficking - it's corrupt and relatively poor government- and the war in the East that precludes the government from upholding it's duties as put forth in the UN protocol above. The conflict in Ukraine, and how it plays a part, will be addressed later on.
Overview: Expert from A21 on Sex trafficking in Ukraine
In this 12 minute video, Ukraine's human trafficking crisis is broken down by Yulia Shechenko, A21's specialist on Ukrainian Human trafficking. Important points include: the open and thus loosely monitored borders of Ukraine facilitate trafficking, that over 50% of trafficking in Ukraine is labor exploitation of men, and that the government relies on NGOs like A21 to preform relief work for victims.
The irony is however, that the channel this appeared on, is sponsored by the Ukrainian government, and one could say that by having an advocate from an NGO, rather than the government itself, they are hoping to continue to push this issue into someone else's hands.
"Ukrainians fall into labor slavery mostly in Russia, Poland."
This article, from a major news source in Kyiv- UNIAN, details the extent of the economic issues in Ukraine. In addition to experiencing war (which also assists in human trafficking) Ukraine's economic position leaves several to being exploited and trafficked in other countries under the guise of a wage. This fact connects us back to how poverty and economic instability prevent human rights from being protected.
UKRAINIANS HAVE BEEN SUBJECTED TO SLAVE LABOR (UNIAN)
OVER THE PAST 28 YEARS
"Human trafficking in crisis situations: Raising awareness in Ukraine"
A hard truth: this video is from 2015. Ukraine has been in conflict with Russia for over 5 years, leaving more than 1.5 million people internally displaced. (OSCE) This video, while only 2 minutes is crucial because it is one of the only media sources (other than articles), that goes somewhat in depth about how being internally displaced leaves populations vulnerable- and vulnerable populations (like women and children) even more so. Additionally, it is one of the only videos put forth by a UN agency affiliate on the issue.
Sadly, children and teenagers, particularly teenage girls in Ukraine are incredibly susceptible to exploitation. Teenage girls are often promised modeling jobs- a chance to get away from Ukraine- and then trafficked. This article tells one of those stories- how girls are often injured or left sick with no one to care for them, and more often then not- they aren't rescued by IOM Ukraine like the young woman in the story was. But, there is hope, despite statistics of trafficking growing- awareness of trafficking is as well- assisted by displays like the one pictured in the article. Additionally, this article was found on reliefweb, which allows it to be shared within the relief and humanitarian community as well.
Continuing the discussion: the vulnerability of refugees and displaced people
This article is both informative and comprehensive- pointing out the black market for organ harvesting that displaced and trafficked people are susceptible to. It also brings up another vulnerable population- disabled people. During times of war, disabled and elderly people are often those left to fend for themselves. This article points to the begging that disabled populations in Ukraine are forced to carry out to survive- and how that often leads to them being trafficked. One of the most interesting aspects of this article is the fact that it brings up the the topic of punishments for the survivors of trafficking- whether they should be punished for partaking in an illicit market- a question about punishment that we had to face in class regarding child soldiers- and allows for the bigger question of how ethical lines are skewed in times of war and in illicit activities.
21% of Ukraine's population is considered vulnerable (Dean)
346 cases (Ukrinform)
Trafficking in Ukraine 2017
News Article from April 28, 2019
Hope is not lost: coming together to fight trafficking
Hope is not lost: coming together to fight trafficking
Although human trafficking is a halting and hopeless thought- hope shouldn't be lost altogether. Through cooperation and hard work- like these Ukrainians and Americans are doing- this issue can be tackled. Delegates from Ukraine and Wisconsin came together to meet with each other and with senators- to share how this issue can be combated in life- and through the law. The most important thing to be done is to shine a light on the darkness- through advocacy- social media, news, and word of mouth. There is not much that cannot be solved when we come together to tackle a cause greater than ourselves.