20 December 2016
A recent study on trafficking in men from Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, shows that the risk of falling prey to traffickers does not depend on victim’s education and place of residence. Over half of the surveyed men victims of trafficking, assisted by IOM in Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus*, have vocational education, 24% have higher education; additionally 71% of them come from urban areas, reveals the study commissioned by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.
From 2010 to 2015, the IOM Missions in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova provided assistance to 3,330 men who were trafficked for labour exploitation. The largest number of men victims was identified in Ukraine, namely 2,417 persons, 774 men were identified in Belarus, and 139 in Moldova. In both Ukraine and Belarus, men victims of trafficking identified by IOM prevail over women since 2012.
“The number of men who are falling prey to traffickers in the region may be significantly higher than reported as many do not ask for assistance,” says Manfred Profazi, Chief of the IOM Mission in Ukraine. “The aim of the conducted research was to better understand the situation with trafficking in men in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova in order to enhance the countries’ response to this type of modern slavery.”
The study shows that the main push factor for men from all three countries to take risky job offers is widespread closure of factories where a significant part of local population traditionally worked. Another push factor is the significant difference in wages offered at the local markets towards those in the Russian Federation, the latter remaining the key destination country for trafficking victims from Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus and representing 80% of trafficking cases considered in the study.
More than half of men victims of trafficking surveyed by IOM were exploited in the construction sector. One-fifth of the respondents worked in agriculture – at greenhouses and seasonal gathering vegetables and fruit (Ukraine and Belarus), as well as shepherding (Moldova).
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The majority of the respondents (78%) indicated that they were exploited only once, while 14% twice and 8% of the respondents claimed that they were exploited three times. One out of five respondents confirmed the readiness to leave home again if promised employment, however to a different country.
The main source of information about the job offer that later on ended up with exploitation were relatives, friends, and acquaintances of victims. “As men accept doubtful job offers by friends and occasional acquaintances, they are less diligent in checking the information on employers and specifics of work conditions”, says the researcher Nataliia Gusak, Head of School of Social Work at the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy.
The results of the study confirm the need for large-scale prevention campaigns, targeting men as at-risk group and raising awareness on their rights, peculiarities of crossing the border, requirements on employment in the country of destination and safety measures that can be taken before departure to avoid falling into the human trafficking trap.
*In total 153 men victims of trafficking for labour exploitation, assisted by the IOM Missions in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova from 2010 to 2015, were interviewed in 2016.