Ukrainians are increasingly vulnerable to threats of human trafficking, IOM-commissioned survey reveals

30 July 2015

On the occasion of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) released new data about the threats of irregular migration and human trafficking in Ukraine.

According to a new IOM-commissioned survey*, the number of Ukrainian migrants working abroad unofficially has rapidly increased to almost 41 per cent compared to 28 per cent in 2011.

“This is a worrying tendency,” says IOM Ukraine’s Chief of Mission Manfred Profazi. “We also see a sharp increase in the number of people who would accept risky offers regarding their potential employment abroad. Now, 21 per cent of potential labour migrants from Ukraine would agree to cross the border illegally, work in locked premises, or give their passports to their employer. The results of the survey reflect the impact of the economic crisis and the conflict in the East on the migration intentions of Ukrainians. The difficult living conditions many Ukrainians are facing make them more likely to take on risky job offers abroad and to accept working conditions they would normally reject.” Four years ago, this vulnerable group inclined to take dubious job offers comprised 14 per cent of the share of potential labour migrants.

According to the poll, funded by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and conducted by GfK Ukraine, 8 per cent of Ukrainians, or about 3 million people, plan to find a job abroad in the nearest future. The number of men among them is twice as high as that of women. Thirty-four (34) per cent of survey respondents would not object to employment abroad but have not seriously considered it yet. At the same time, the share of Ukrainians who would not want to work abroad decreased from 55 per cent in 2011 to 44 per cent today.

As regards major destination countries for labour migrants from Ukraine, the attractiveness of Russia appears to have decreased over the past years. In 2011, 18 per cent of those willing to work abroad were considering going there, whereas now only 12 per cent are inclined to do so. At the same time, the attractiveness of Poland has increased from 7 per cent in 2006, when the first similar IOM-commissioned survey was conducted, to 30 per cent now. Today, Poland and Germany appear at the top of the list among countries where Ukrainians would like to work the most. Italy ranks third, with 19 per cent of potential labour migrants willing to work there, followed by the U.S. (15%), Great Britain and Russia (12%), and Canada and the Czech Republic (11%).

From January 2000 to June 2015, the International Organization for Migration Mission in Ukraine assisted over 11,200 victims of trafficking, who received legal aid, medical care, psychological counseling, financial support, vocational training, and other types of assistance based on individual needs. Read more

For more information, please contact Varvara Zhluktenko, IOM Ukraine,,
+38 044 568 5015, +38 067 447 97 92


*The sample size of the representative population survey, conducted in February-March 2015, constituted 2,087 respondents. The sample is representative for the population aged 15+ by region, settlement size, age and gender. The survey was conducted on government-controlled territories of Ukraine, and the weight of population living in Eastern and Southern macroregions was increased in order to compensate for the missing territories in the sample.