One in eight Ukrainians ready to accept a job offer that can lead to exploitation

2 December 2019

To cross the border illegally; to work without official employment contract, in illegal production and in a closed space; to hand over  the passport to the employer – 13 per cent of Ukrainians are willing to agree to at least one risky job offer abroad that could lead to human trafficking or exploitation. These are the results of a study* released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Mission in Ukraine on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December.

Compared to the results of a previous similar survey conducted in 2017, the propensity of Ukrainian job seekers for behaviour which could put them at risk has decreased: two years ago, 21 per cent of respondents were ready to accept such offers for employment.

However, the current survey shows that over the last three years about 49,000 Ukrainians could have suffered from human trafficking. Based on the estimates made earlier, the number of Ukrainian citizens who have been trafficked since 1991 may be about 260,000.

The estimated population of Ukraine who worked abroad at the time of the survey is 1 million 51 thousand people. The most attractive countries for labour migration for Ukrainians are Germany, where 43 per cent of respondents would like to work, Poland (35%), the Czech Republic (23%), Italy (19%) and Canada (10%). Nine per cent of respondents would like to work both in the Russian Federation or the United States. In comparison with 2017, the attractiveness of Germany and the Czech Republic has increased, and the attractiveness of the Russian Federation has decreased.

Since 2000, the IOM Mission in Ukraine has helped over 16,000 victims of trafficking return to a decent life. IOM assistance, depending on individual needs, can include legal counselling and court representation, medical and psychological assistance, shelter, training and small grants to support trafficked persons seeking to start their own businesses.

Continuing the trend of previous years, in the first half of 2019 men constituted the majority (69%) of trafficking survivors assisted by IOM Ukraine. The vast majority (94%) of the victims suffered from labour exploitation. Over a half (65%) of the victims identified by IOM in the six months of this year have been exploited in the Russian Federation.

Interviews with victims of human trafficking and focus groups with representatives of government bodies and non-governmental organizations, commissioned by IOM in the summer of 2019, showed that very often people seek help one to three years after experiencing exploitation.

"Our findings confirm the need to intensify the joint efforts of government agencies, non-governmental and international organizations involved in the fight against human trafficking in order to improve the identification of victims and more effectively disseminate information on available assistance opportunities," said Anh Nguyen, IOM Ukraine Chief of Mission.

*The Migration and Trafficking Survey was conducted by Info Sapiens on the request of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Mission in Ukraine with the financial support of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in June-August 2019. The study was conducted based on a nationwide representative Omnibus survey using the method of personal home interviews. 2,000 respondents were surveyed.