The project staff “Support of consulting centers for victims of human trafficking”, implemented in five Ukrainian cities with the financial support of Caritas France and Spain, together with the partners took part in events aimed at drawing public attention to this scandalous issue and prevention of an increase in cases of our fellow citizens being implicated into modern slavery.
Representatives of Caritas Kyiv together with partner organizations came out to the Independence Square to inform about risks and dangers of human trafficking, activities of the Consulting center aimed at social and professional integration of people affected by actions of modern slave holders, risks which people might face during the search of employment or other situations. As per expert data, nowadays, every fifth Ukrainian is ready to accept a risky job offer. Past years showed a trend in spreading new forms of exploitation, in particular human trafficking to involve people into armed conflict. During the action, social employees told a story of Oleksandr. The man was stolen from his home by militants, who held him for a month and forced to work to death, including works on the line of contact. Drug trafficking is another form of slavery which is developing rather rapidly nowadays. Men are promised good money and recruited to Russia for drugs transportation. Project coordinator Alla Kochubei says, “At the beginning, guys transport some machinery during several days or weeks. After that they suddenly get a package with drugs and address where it must be delivered. People do not know what they deliver. They have no idea of becoming a drug runner or the fact that a prison in Russia is waiting for them.
Participants of the action spread information materials, told about different forms of human trafficking and the importance of being careful as everybody may fall into a tricky trap if to lose alertness. “It is extremely important in our community to pray for people, suffering from human trafficking, because it is a shameful phenomenon which contradicts with God-given dignity”, Father Roman Syrotych, Director of Caritas Kyiv concludes.
The joint street action was held in Ivano-Frankivsk. The action was organized by the Department of social policy of the Regional State Administration, Department of youth and sport of Ivano-Frankivsk city council and Caritas Ivano-Frankivsk. Specialists of different institutions and organizations explained the rules of safe traveling abroad. “The objective of the action is to draw attention of citizens to the safety during travelling, as a crime level has increased recently. Since 2004, we have helped 188 victims of human trafficking, among them both children and adults”, Executive Director of Caritas Ivano-Frankivsk Nataliia Kozakevych told. “The problem is not a new one, but rather urgent. Risks are growing, because quite often citizens do not realize them. This often happens when people illegally move abroad. Children are forced into begging, women are forced into prostitution,” Deputy Head of the Department of youth and sport of Ivano-Frankivsk city council Nazariy Kuzemka adds.
All interested took part in the “Travel safely” quest and joined a drawing competition and quizzes, got the possibility to play “Pink glasses” and “Hit the high spots” games. At the end of the actions, the participants released balloons in the sky as a symbol of a life with human trafficking.
The Department of Social Protection of the Population of Kharkiv Regional State Administration initiated a round table “Together against human trafficking” whose participants became representatives of regional and international public organizations, directors of communities, social services, employment centers, the National Police Main Department in Kharkiv region and Caritas Kharkiv.
Director of the Department of Social Protection of the Population of Kharkiv Regional State Administration, Yurii Shparaha opened the meeting by admitting the additional increase of urgency of the issue this year due to liberalization of Ukrainian legislation and introduction of the visa-free regime with the EU countries. Participants of the round table – representatives of state structures and public organizations, in particular representatives of Caritas Kharkiv told about their activities on rendering psychological, material and legal aid to the victims.
At the end of the event, the parties summed up the meeting and adopted a joint resolution. In particular, they empathized the need to amend the applicable legislation, encourage the spread of information and awareness about human trafficking issues among the population. It was also suggested to draw up a step-by-step instruction for the citizens: what to do if you have faced a similar tough situation, and familiarize people with this document, first of all through the employment services.
The staff of Caritas Kharkiv announced a drawing competition on combating human trafficking. The competition is aimed to increase awareness of the problem among the youth and develop an attitude among young people and society in general to this issue from a human rights priority. Students of all educational institutions, young artists and designers and all interested people, eager to share their talents and visions of the problem and ways how to prevent the most serious crimes against a human, are invited to participate. The competition lasts until September 1, 2017.
On July 31, representatives of more than 10 organizations held the information initiative “Travel safely” at Soborna Square in Odesa. The event was initiated by the Public movement “Trust. Hope. Love” and the International Organization for Migration in Ukraine. Caritas center in Odesa also actively participated in the initiative.
Organizers of the initiative placed stands near Vorontsov Monument, where lawyers, psychologists and social workers got the chance to inform all interested citizens and guests of Odesa how to avoid violation of their rights and not to become victims of human trafficking, provided free legal and psychological consultations. According to Tetiana Tiunibekian, the Head of the Department on support to the unemployed at the regional employment center, citizens of Ukraine have recently become more vulnerable to such situations due to the introduction of a non-visa regime. “Young people are eager for a quick buck and agree to any job without verifying the employer’s intensions. Tragedies still take place, people have problems with a psychological and social recovery, but we provide assistance at all stages which a victim has to undergo, readdress to our partner public organizations,” she added.
The street action took place in Drohobych where representatives of the consulting center at Caritas Sambir-Drohobych Eparchy together with volunteers distributed information materials. All willing citizens of the town received professional advice on human trafficking. The drawing competition was also announced. Best pieces of art will be used for preparation of information product. The event was held with the support of regional, city and district councils.