‘Safely to Success’: IOM and the Swiss Confederation raise awareness of young Ukrainians about migration and human trafficking

21 July 2014

IOM Ukraine is launching an information tour titled, ‘Safely to Success!’ to raise awareness about the risks of human trafficking. The campaign, funded by the Swiss Confederation, will target youth and other at-risk groups through social media, TV and press, and on-ground activities that will be conducted in four towns – Ismail (Odesa Region, on 26 July), Sambir (Lviv Region, on 2 August), Dolyna (Ivano-Frankivsk Region, on 10 August), and Dniprodzerzhynsk (Dnepropetrovsk Region, on 16 August). These regions are considered risk-prone areas due to a traditionally high level of migration and, since recently, an increasing number of internally displaced persons who have sought refuge there.

“Ukraine is a country with a big development potential.  Many people are moving within the country and across borders, from one place to another, striving for better livelihood opportunities. Our aim is to empower them with knowledge, information, and awareness, so that the individual person can make a safe choice concerning her or his future,” states Petra Widmer, Deputy Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Ukraine.

 “The political and economic crisis and uncertainty about ones future can trigger desperate decision-making and increase the inclination to accept risky job offers, which raises risks of labour, sexual and other forms of exploitation. Together with our partners, we therefore aim at expanding our prevention work to newly emerging risk groups,adds IOM Ukraine’s Chief of Mission Manfred Profazi.

Ukraine has been a significant source, transit and increasingly destination country for human trafficking since the early 1990s. According to an IOM-commissioned survey, over 120,000 Ukrainians suffered from modern-day slavery over the last 24 years. Since the year of 2000, IOM and partners have been able to assist over 10,200 victims of trafficking, with as many as over 900 people assisted annually over 2012-2013.  Current worrying tendencies show men and women of all ages might suffer from trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation, as well as for forced begging and other forms of inhumane treatment, abroad and internally in Ukraine. Moreover, according to a survey commissioned by IOM last year, 9 per cent of Ukrainians claim that they, their relatives or friends were facing situations or attempts of trafficking.

“Intending to reach out to as many Ukrainians as possible, we have chosen an interactive road-show format,”says Anton Teretyshnyk, Director of the implementing PR-agency Action Global Communications Ukraine. IOM experts and trained volunteers will be explaining how to travel safely and avoiding falling prey to traffickers, either abroad or in Ukraine. Mobile comic exhibitions, thematic competitions, games for teenagers, and the screening of documentary films will be arranged to bring the message of safe migration to people in public areas. The social media groups and pages were created to perpetuate the project and engage more people. 

Ukrainian celebrities support raising awareness on modern-day slavery. “TSN News” anchors Yuliia Borysko and Yehor Hordeyev (1+1 Channel) will be the road-show hosts. “I have joined this project because I love good news. TSN is always ready to help people in trouble, but I hope that thanks to this wonderful initiative, there will be fewer people in dangerous situations,” says Yuliia Borysko. “The risk of trafficking for Ukrainians is particularly high, but we hope to address this. We should face our challenges head-on and discuss them openly, as this is the only way to solve them,” adds Yehor Hordeyev.

Radio Era FM and the Day newspaper are also partnering on this project.

For more information please contact IOM Ukraine’s Communications Officer Varvara Zhluktenko (+38 044 568 50 15, 067 447 97 92, vzhluktenko@iom.int) and Action Global Communication’s Victoriia Kupriychuk (+38 044 239 11 19, +38 066 312 08 63, viktoriya.k@actionprgroup.com).