7 December 2017

Children in conflict with law and juvenile probation officers, a police investigator, residents of a Kyiv region village, and Government representatives were among the recipients of the Seventh Combating Human Trafficking Awards, honoured at a ceremony held in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) – the UN Migration Agency.

Since the year 2000, IOM Ukraine identified and assisted almost 14,000 trafficking survivors. The Awards are regularly hosted by IOM Ukraine to mark the International Day of the Abolition of Slavery, which is commemorated every 2nd of December. The ceremony recognizes individuals and institutions that have made outstanding contributions in the fight against modern-day slavery and draws attention to the joint effort of the Government of Ukraine, civil society and the international community to combat this crime.

The Seventh Combating Human Trafficking Awards ceremony was organized with the generous support from the American people through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). It was opened by IOM Ukraine Counter-Trafficking Goodwill Ambassador and Eurovision 2016 winner, Jamala, and IOM Ukraine Chief of Mission, Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss. 

“Many of the trafficking survivors IOM Ukraine has supported were trafficked and exploited in the years of conflict since 2014,” said Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss. “We know that human trafficking evolves and perpetrators flourish in times of conflict and crisis. And while the conflict is going on we must speak about the very real risks of human trafficking and emphasize the collective responsibility to fight the crime.”

“Today we honour the heroes who contribute to fight trafficking, who have shown determination, bravery and courage, and who inspire us in standing up against this most horrendous expression of modern day-slavery,” he added.

Specialists from the juvenile probation centre in Melitopol, a southern Ukrainian city, and four boys in conflict with law, were honoured for a trafficking awareness campaign they organized for youth in their region.  Halyna Brulyova, a senior investigator at the National Police of Ukraine, was recognized for her investigation of an international trafficking case and helping Ukrainian victims to be released from prison in Brazil and return home. Natalia Lavrysh, Head of a Kyiv region village council, Oksana Demyanchuk, member of the village council, and Tetyana Tymkiv, resident of the same village, were awarded for helping a woman who was trapped in labour exploitation for 16 years. The National Police, the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, and the All-Ukrainian Counter-Trafficking NGO Coalition in Ukraine were also recognized for consolidating the Government and civil society efforts in building the national referral mechanism for assisting victims of trafficking.

According to research commissioned by IOM, over 230,000 Ukrainians became victims to human trafficking since 1991, which makes Ukraine one of the main countries of origin of victims in Europe. An IOM survey shows that every fifth Ukrainian is ready to accept a risky job offer that can lead to trafficking.

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