“See a begging child? Call the police!” UN Migration Agency calls on Ukrainians to fight children exploitation

Kyiv, 18 May 2018

We see them in metro. We see them in pedestrian tunnels. We see them in the streets. Every day we see begging children, but usually we just ignore them.

“Those people who are actually behind these children stay hidden and might be invisible at first”, says Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss, Chief of IOM, the UN Migration Agency, Mission in Ukraine.” According to IOM, more than one-fourth of victims of child trafficking in Ukraine were forced to beg. “It means that the children will not get those donations. It means that the children could be beaten, threatened or forced to beg money that would go to criminals,” says Thomas Weiss.

In order to call on Ukrainians to see the reality in which children begging in the streets are living, IOM and the international media arts competition Kyiv Lights Festival joined their efforts. In the framework of the festival, from 18th to 20th May, a thematic art installation is displayed in the heart of Kyiv, on Mykhailivska square.

The installation is represented by a large black cube, with a small hole in the middle of one side, looking through which one can see the silhouette of a begging child. However, having made a flash photo on their mobile device, the passers-by will be able to see the situation in a different light – it will become obvious that the child is under the vigilant supervision of the exploiter. Brief information about child begging problem is also provided, as well as the suggested algorithm of actions when identifying a begging child, and main resources of counter-trafficking information for Ukraine.

“If you see a child begging alone or accompanied by an adult, call the police, tell about the incident, describe the child and accompanying adult. Wait for the police if you can,” calls on Thomas Weiss. “Your money will not help these children, but only enrich those who steel their childhood!”

Ukraine is a country of origin, transit and destination for trafficking in men, women and children. According to a research commissioned by IOM, over 230,000 Ukrainians became victims to human trafficking since 1991. The IOM Mission in Ukraine provided comprehensive reintegration assistance to over 14,000 victims of trafficking since the year 2000.

Learn more: http://stoptrafficking.org/

Kyiv Lights Festival is three days of unforgettable atmosphere created by an international festival of light and media arts in the Ukrainian capital. The stunning possibilities of advanced technologies turn the city into an open-air art gallery with colorful light sculptures, installations, and projections. Admission is free to all festival venues.

Learn more: https://www.kyivlights.com

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