The Maze Runner: IOM Ukraine raises awareness and informs Ukrainians about the dangers of human trafficking

Kyiv, 30 July 2018

Every year, millions of people from all over the world fall into the hands of traffickers, often through being tricked and misled. Human trafficking takes many forms and knows no borders.

“Trafficking can happen to anyone — young and old, male or female, and Ukrainians as much as foreigners,” says Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss, Chief of IOM, the UN Migration Agency, Mission in Ukraine. Human traffickers too often operate with impunity, with their crimes receiving not nearly enough attention. According to a research commissioned by IOM, over 230,000 Ukrainians became victims of human trafficking since 1991. “Many Ukrainians are willing to take murky jobs without understanding that they risk ending up in the hands of traffickers. This must change”, says Thomas Weiss.

On 30th July the World Day against Trafficking in Persons is observed globally every year to raise awareness of the plight of victims of human trafficking and promote and protect their rights. This year in order to raise awareness and inform Ukrainians about the risks of falling victim of trafficking, IOM Ukraine joined a nation-wide interactive awareness raising event, led by the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine and organized by the National Referral Mechanism stakeholders. On 30th July, IOM Ukraine installed an interactive maze at Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the main square of Kyiv.

‘The Maze of Risks and Opportunities’, installed not only in the capital, but in every regional centre of Ukraine, provides the opportunity to participate in a thematic quest. Getting into the maze, the visitors have to find the way out, and, moreover, to find the way how to avoid possible risks that may lead to getting into the situation of human trafficking. All scenarios are based on real recruitment stories. If all the answers and decisions are correct, the visitors leave the maze without being trafficked, and at the exit meet a representative of IOM or partner NGO, who delivers a brief information session and answers the questions. If the visitors accept risky offers, they leave the maze through another exit, where representative from the Ministry of Social policy responsible for VoT identification and assistance tells them that in real life their such decisions might have resulted into a human trafficking situation and provides information on their rights and opportunities, such as assistance that can be obtained from the government, international organizations and civil society.

The maze is aimed at developing a critical attitude to dubious job offers, training ability to think calm in situations of emotional pressure, and testing visitors’ knowledge of safe migration and employment abroad.

Ukraine is a country of origin, transit and destination for trafficking in men, women and children. The IOM Mission in Ukraine provided comprehensive reintegration assistance to over 14,000 victims of trafficking since the year 2000. As of the end of June, the IOM had recorded 582 cases of human trafficking in 2018.

Learn more:

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