As of 29th July 2022, the UN says, more than 6 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded. It is estimated that women and children make up the largest proportion (90%) of Ukrainian refugees on the move, while most men aged 18-60 are required to stay behind under martial law. It is thought that approximately 6.5 million people are displaced inside Ukraine.
Historically, displaced people in desperate situations, fleeing war and persecution are at the highest risk of trafficking. Trafficking hotspots and trends follow migration; those on the move are likely to lack family ties, access to financial means, documentation, or language fluency.
This crisis presents each of these risk factors in the strongest terms.
On 25th March 2022, STOP THE TRAFFIK Group launched the first phase of its Europe-wide, geo-targeted, digital prevention campaign. This campaign is providing vital safety information to those who are on the move because of the war in Ukraine. This response is now STOP THE TRAFFIK Group’s longest-running campaign to date and has reached over 3 million people.
Throughout our campaign, we have been working with over 18 NGOs, across 12 countries. Our work has been possible because of the trusted partnerships and collaborations that have shared data, taken action led by insight and sought to support each other. On the 13th of July 2022, 37 of us met online to celebrate each other, but more importantly to talk about how to accelerate our learning and our shared ability to take action. We all know something, but only by sharing are we building a rich picture everyone can use.
" The war in Ukraine is a global tragedy and exactly the opportunity that traffickers exploit. STOP THE TRAFFIK Group is driving forward our prevention work, tracking routes, finding hotspots, and sharing intelligence at the street level. This has allowed us to reach over 3.5 million mobiles in the hands of those who have left Ukraine moving across Europe. We must disrupt the ability of the traffickers to operate. Our work celebrates and depends on others. We are building the necessary networks with the trust to share what we know and learn and work together. This only happens because people commit to conversations and are prepared to do differently. We are committed to each other and to those whom we seek to equip and serve with information that brings safety, hope and choice. Please join us so we can raise the risk of those who are intent to profit from this war. We need you!"
Ruth Dearnley OBE, CEO STOP THE TRAFFIK