IOM Awards Ceremony marks Ukraine?s effort to combat human trafficking

4 December 2012

The Ukrainian Mission of the International Organization for Migration hosted the Sixth Combating Human Trafficking Awards Ceremony, recognizing individuals and institutions that have made outstanding contributions in the fight against modern-day slavery. ?New Beginnings? was chosen as the event?s theme, since 2012 marks a turning point in Ukraine with the establishment of a state-led assistance system for victims following the adoption of the Law of Ukraine on Countering Human Trafficking in 2011.

A former human trafficking victim was recognized for her personal bravery in saving another girl from the same destiny. The Ministry of Interior Counter Trafficking Unit in Volyn region was presented an award for resolving a trafficking case and rescuing workers enslaved at a garbage separation plant. The NGO ?Spring of Hope? from Vinnytsia received an award for assisting and empowering victims of trafficking. The Department of Gender Policy and Child Health of the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine was recognized for leading Government?s efforts in countering modern slavery in Ukraine.

?Combating an evil like human trafficking is possible only with coordination between the Ukrainian Government and the international community, applying best international practices,? stated Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, Minister of Social Policy Serhii Tihipko in his written address to the ceremony?s guests.

IOM Ukraine estimates that more than 120,000 Ukrainian men, women and children have fallen victim to human trafficking since 1991. ?Unfortunately, Ukraine is still heavily affected by modern-day slavery. A lot more needs to be done,? said IOM Ukraine?s Chief of Mission Manfred Profazi. ?The IOM Mission in Ukraine is proud to have provided almost 9,000 victims of trafficking with a chance to start their lives anew. Apart from victim reintegration, we strive to make migrants aware of their rights and improve government?s ability to protect its citizens from the dangers of modern-day slavery and to prosecute traffickers.?

The Kiev Big Band jazz ensemble provided musical accompaniment for the ceremony. ?As artists and musicians we are happy to contribute to raising awareness on the threat of human trafficking,? said Kiev Big Band Art Director Denys Adu. ?We wanted to support those who fight modern-day slavery with jazz, the music of freedom.?

The Sixth Combating Human Trafficking Awards Ceremony was organized through the US Agency for International Development Countering Trafficking in Persons in Ukraine Project, and co-funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

In partnership with USAID and other donors, IOM works with the Government of Ukraine, civil society and the private sector towards the elimination of modern-day slavery and the rehabilitation of its victims. Since 2000, IOM and its partners have been able to identify and assist close to 9,000 victims of trafficking, both Ukrainian and foreign nationals, who were exploited in more than 60 countries. The youngest victim was 3 years old and the oldest 73 (both of them were exploited in forced begging). Individual reintegration plans include free medical care, psychological counselling, shelter, vocational training, financial assistance, legal consultation and representation in court and other help as needed. IOM is proud that over 90% of victims who have completed the reintegration programme now work or study in Ukraine. Over 230 beneficiaries started up 170 micro-enterprises, creating additional job opportunities and new services for their communities. IOM has contributed to the development of counter trafficking legislation in Ukraine, including provisions in the Criminal Code, the Law on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and the National Referral Mechanism, which set the normative basis for a state-led assistance programme for trafficking victims.

For further information please contact IOM Ukraine Communications Officer Ms. Varvara Zhluktenko (568 50 15, 067 447 97 92, and USAID Senior Outreach and Communications Specialist Olha Myrtsalo (044 521 57 41)