Norway and IOM support Ukraine's efforts to reintegrate victims of human trafficking

As the United Nations commemorates the first World Day against Trafficking in Persons, the Mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Ukraine is launching a three-year project titled, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Victims of Trafficking in Ukraine. The project is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, which is providing 18.2 million Norwegian Kroner to support the Government of Ukraine’s and civil society’s efforts in fighting modern-day slavery and to improve access of victims of trafficking and persons at risk to protection and assistance.

Ukraine is a significant source, transit and, increasingly, destination country for human trafficking. IOM-commissioned research estimates that over 120,000 Ukrainians have been trafficked abroad since the early 1990s; there are currently no reliable estimates of the number of people trafficked to or within Ukraine. To date, IOM and its partners have identified and assisted almost 10,500 men, women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labour, sexual exploitation, and other crimes. Forty-four per cent (44%) of these individuals were trafficked to the Russian Federation, 28% - to the European Union, and 6% - to or within Ukraine.  

The Government of Ukraine has undertaken significant steps to protect the rights of victims of trafficking, including by creating a National Referral Mechanism for their identification and assistance. Yet, there are still capacity- and funding-related gaps that require international donors’ intervention. This new project will support access to rehabilitation and reintegration services as well as economic empowerment opportunities, for over 1,500 victims of trafficking, in addition to the assistance provided by government agencies.

“The current economic challenges in Ukraine, the growing number of displaced persons and the situation in the Donbas region create new, greater vulnerabilities and risks associated with human trafficking and call for a strengthened response from the Government, civil society and international community. It is symbolic that we launch this project on the first World Day against Trafficking in Persons, as now it is crucial to draw the attention of society to the dangers of trafficking and to consolidate our efforts to protect the victims. The generous support of the Government of Norway and other international donors is making this possible in these difficult times for Ukraine,” says IOM Ukraine’s Chief of Mission Manfred Profazi.

The World Day against Trafficking in Persons was established by UN General Assembly Resolution 68/192 of 18 December 2013 and marks the day of the adoption of the UN Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons in 2010. IOM, as the global lead agency on migration, participates in and is chairing the UN Inter-Agency Coordination Group Against Trafficking in Persons in 2014. The Coordination Group brings together sixteen United Nations entities and other international organizations to provide a holistic and comprehensive approach to the problem of trafficking in persons, including protection and support for victims of trafficking.

The IOM Mission in Ukraine has been implementing a broad portfolio of migration-related initiatives since 1996, including the Counter-Trafficking Programme, launched in 1998 to support the efforts of Government and civil society in countering human trafficking from, to and within the country.

For more information, please contact IOM Ukraine’s Communications Officer Varvara Zhluktenko, 38 044 568 50 15, 067 447 97 92,