Every Year Tens of Thousands of Ukrainians become Victims of Human Trafficking


On 24-25 March Dzherelo Nadiyi, a regional legal rights organization in Vinnyts’ya held a training entitled: Managing Stress: Methods of self control as a way to prevent and overcome stress which is part of the How to escape Stressful Situations series. This series of trainings are part of the Caritas Ukraine project called Developing a Network of Consultation Centres in Ukraine to Warn of Human Trafficking and to Help Its Victims. This project is made possible by the Ukrainian branch of the International Organization on Migration. Practicing psychologist Nataliya Mysachenko led the training.

The goal of this training was to teach attendees how to manage their stress and to learn self control as a way to prevent and overcome stress.

Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. It involves recruitment, transportation, transferring, harbouring or receiving a person through force, coercion or other means in order to exploit them.

Every year hundreds of thousands of men, women and children become victims of human trafficking in their native and foreign countries.

Human trafficking is the fastest growing industry in the world. Total profits from human trafficking reach a total of US$5-9 billion annually. The Council of Europe estimates that “human trafficking has reached epidemic proportions in the past 10 years, with a worldwide market of nearly US$42.5 billion.” According to the UN, nearly 2.5 million individuals from 127 different countries are victims of human trafficking worldwide.

After the collapse of the iron curtain, countries from the eastern bloc, such as Albania, Moldavia, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine became the main suppliers of women and children for this industry.

The International Organization for Migration estimates that in Ukraine’s 20 years of independence, over 110,000 Ukrainians have fallen victim to human trafficking. Most of the victims come from the Eastern part of the country. Researchers have published estimates that starting in 1991, up to half a million Ukrainians have been sold abroad.

According to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe there are over 30,000 citizens who are victims of human trafficking in Ukraine.

Women are forced into prostitution, domestic service or are forced to work in textile mills and other industries. Children are forced to beg on the streets. Most Ukrainian men were forced to work for menial wages in Russia and other countries as labourers, farm hands or seamen.

Specialists who lead the trainings initiated by Caritas that an individual who is ready to deny this stress and can control their emotions will be better able to cope with the stress of this situation. Knowing ones psychological strengths and weaknesses play an important role in managing stress. It is well known that different personalities react to stress and manifest it in different ways.

Iryna, a training attendee says: “I found it very interesting to learn how different personalities react to stress: the ambitious, restrained, those who do not stand up for themselves, cheerful and anxious. By recognizing a person’s personality, a strategy can be created to restore mental balance, even in a crisis. Self control helps to avoid stress, to get out of stressful situations and to deal with the consequences of stressful situations.”

Experts from community organizations, who for years have been working to prevent human trafficking in Ukraine and offer counselling, support and legal assistance to victims of human trafficking, noted that this crime is a global problem. It has a larger impact on countries which are undergoing political and economic transformations or post conflict stress; most victims come from countries in these situation.

People who live in difficult conditions are enticed by the possibility of improving their lives in richer and more developed countries; and demand is high for low paid legal and illegal workers in host countries.

Because of Ukraine’s current situation, it is important for charitable organizations, international experts on preventing human trafficking and related government agencies to join forces to overcome this problem

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