26 Mar 2022 18:25

Ukrainian ombudsman urges European countries to oppose labor, sex exploitation of refugees from Ukraine

KYIV. March 26 (Interfax-Ukraine) - Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Human Rights Commissioner Liudmyla Denisova has called on European countries to take measures to oppose the trafficking in Ukrainian women and children who have fled their country because of the military situation in Ukraine.

The tide of migrants from Ukraine to neighboring countries "has increased the risk of their involvement in a human trafficking situation," Denisova said.

"Especially vulnerable are women, children, and people with disabilities. An increase in the number of instances of labor or sex exploitation and abusive treatment of people, particularly children, has been observed in European countries," Denisova said on a Telegram channel.

In particular, there have been instances of pimps' hunting for Ukrainian women near refugee centers in Poland's Lublin on the pretext of offering transport, job, or housing to them, Denisova said. "There have also been groups of people pretending to be volunteers who attempted to lure women into suspicious cars," she said.

In response to these facts, the European Commission has engaged a network of coordinators to oppose human trafficking, she said.

"I am calling on European countries to take measures to prevent the violation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, which would rule out the likelihood of Ukrainian citizens' finding themselves in such situations. It is particularly critical to improve checks on borders to protect children, including unaccompanied ones," she said.