IOM Launches Online Course to Foster Countering Trafficking in Ukraine

Kyiv, 20 November 2018


Are women or men more vulnerable to human trafficking in Ukraine? Is it still human trafficking if a person gave consent to an exploitation under pressure or threat? What are international and national legal instruments to protect trafficking survivors? From now on, Ukrainian government officials and NGO practitioners can find the answers to these and many other questions from an e-course, developed by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, jointly with the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine. The course, funded by USAID and Global Affairs Canada, was officially presented in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv on 20 November.

The Ministry of Social Policy acts as the National Counter-Trafficking Coordinator in Ukraine, developing public policy in this field, coordinating activities of national and local authorities, granting official victim status to trafficking survivors, and cooperating with international and civil society organizations.

The IOM Mission in Ukraine has been countering trafficking in human beings for 20 years. In addition to direct assistance provided to almost 15,000 trafficking survivors, the UN Migration Agency supports government efforts, including training for the stakeholders of the National Referral Mechanism for Assisting Victims of Trafficking, established in Ukraine in 2012.

“Unfortunately, in many cases victims of trafficking prefer not to ask for help, and remain invisible. That is why there is a constant need to reach out to more frontline practitioners – central and local social services, law enforcement officials, the State Migration Service and the State Employment Service, NGOs, teachers, medical staff and others who might help identify trafficking survivors,” said Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss, IOM Ukraine Chief of Mission. “The newly developed online course serves this goal, providing a modern and cost-effective alternative to traditional seminars and workshops,” he added.

Ms. Nataliia Fedorovych, Deputy Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, stressed the relevance of the course in the context of decentralization in Ukraine. "It is cruciall that the stakeholders of the National Referal Mechanism for assisting victims of trafficking are well trained," she said.

With the help of the new educational course IOM aims to identify and assist more people like Taras*, a 53 y. o. man who was injured in a car accident many years ago, and as a result lost his job. After several months in a hospital, Taras came across a job advertisement from a farm owner who was looking for a shepherd to tend cattle.  He took the job and stayed at the farm… for 16 years. He was regularly beaten and humiliated, and only occasionally received some small money. In 2015, after the farm owner died, Taras was finally given his passport back and told that he was free to go. As he no longer had a home to return to, the man was referred to a local IOM partner NGO, where he got shelter and had to learn basic life skills again. Taras immediately received clothing, medical and psychological assistance from the UN Migration Agency. In June 2017, Taras was officially granted victim of trafficking status by the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine. As IOM, NGO and state social services joined their efforts to help Taras, he received further assistance, including a complex ophthalmologic surgery. Currently, Taras makes refurbishments for living and is well respected by his colleagues. The IOM partner NGO also helped to find his family, who had thought Taras had died long ago, and he met grandchildren who were born in his absence.


*Name has been changed to protect privacy


For more information please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel. +38 044 568 50 15 or +38 067 447 97 92, Email: