12 October 2017

The Ukrainian singer and winner of Eurovision 2016, Jamala, became a counter-trafficking Goodwill Ambassador for the International Organization for Migration – the UN Migration Agency (IOM), Mission in Ukraine. Jamala supports IOM in its extensive work aimed at countering and preventing modern slavery by appearing in a public service campaign, Danger Might be Invisible at First. The video will start rotating on Ukrainian TV channels on 18 October, marking the European Union Anti-Trafficking Day. In addition to the television campaign, an outdoor campaign will be launched nationwide.

“Many people in Ukraine earn at the poverty level and are willing to work anywhere and under any conditions. They are the ones who most often fall prey to human traffickers and end up exploited. Unfortunately, the number of victims is growing every year,” Jamala says. “This campaign will not solve the problem, but it will draw the attention of media, State and the general public. The main goal is to warn Ukrainians that they need to be careful when considering job offers abroad,” adds the singer.

The latest IOM survey revealed that one fifth of the Ukrainian population say that they would be willing to cross a border illegally, work in locked premises and hand over their passports to an employer. “This means that a fairly large share of the population are prone to risky behavior which may lead to them being exploited,” explains Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss, Chief of the IOM Mission in Ukraine. “We greatly appreciate Jamala’s involvement in our campaign aimed at prevention of modern slavery.  We believe that her engagement in trafficking prevention will help save many lives,” said Dr. Weiss.

A research commissioned by IOM Ukraine estimates that over 230,000 Ukrainians became victims to human trafficking since 1991. Since January 2000, IOM Ukraine has provided comprehensive assistance to nearly 14,000 victims of modern slavery. During the first half of 2017 alone, the IOM Mission in Ukraine identified 639 persons who suffered from labour and sexual exploitation in 23 countries, including Ukraine. This number represents an increase of 30% compared to the same period in 2016.

The national counter trafficking information campaign, Danger Might be Invisible at First, launched by IOM in cooperation with Jamala, was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The campaign is endorsed by the Ministry of Social Policy and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.

Jamala was the face of the MTV EXIT campaign, conducted in partnership with IOM, and aimed at raising awareness amongst Ukrainians about human trafficking and safe migration released in 2013. She presented real-life stories of victims of exploitation in a documentary titled “Trading Lives”. Other international celebrities, such as Jared Leto and Angelina Jolie, were also faces of similar MTV EXIT campaigns.

For further information, please contact IOM Ukraine Communications Officer Varvara Zhluktenko,
tel: +38 044 568 50 15 or 067 447 97 92, email: