The Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine which started on 24 February 2022 provoked the largest displacement of people in Europe since the Second World War. Within days, millions of people fled the armed conflict in Ukraine to neighbouring countries and onwards across Europe. An estimated 90% of them were women and children, including thousands of unaccompanied children.

 

Risks of trafficking in human beings

GRETA issued a statement on 17 March 2022, underlining that even in very challenging times caused by the massive influx of refugees, States’ obligations under the Convention are not suspended but become of greater importance as the risk of trafficking is higher, which is why all relevant national authorities must take specific preventive measures and protect refugees from the risk of trafficking, in a non-discriminatory manner, regardless of the nationality of the victim.

At its 43rd meeting (28 March - 1 April 2022), GRETA held an online exchange of views on the risks of trafficking in human beings related to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine with Ms Kataryna Levchenko, Equality Commissioner of Ukraine, and representatives of anti-trafficking NGOs from the Republic of Moldova, Poland and Ukraine as well as La Strada International.

As a result of these discussions, GRETA decided to prepare a Guidance Note on addressing the risks of trafficking in human beings related to the war in Ukraine and the ensuing humanitarian crisis. It follows on previous work developed by GRETA, notably the Guidance Note on the entitlement of victims of trafficking, and persons at risk of being trafficked, to international protection, and complements recommendations issued by other international actors, such as the OSCE Special Representative and Coordinator for Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings.

Guidance Note and examples of measures

The aim of the Guidance Note on addressing the risks of trafficking in human beings related to the war in Ukraine and the ensuing humanitarian crisis, issued by GRETA on 4 May 2022, is to provide practical advice to help States Parties ensure that public agencies, NGOs, the private sector and the general public are aware of the risks of trafficking in human beings for different forms of exploitation in their dealings with people fleeing the war in Ukraine, and on how to provide support in order to minimise these risks. The Guidance Note focuses on actions that can be implemented quickly, without the need of legislative reforms or structural changes. 

GRETA’s 12th General Report, covering the year 2022, includes a chapter with examples of measures taken by State Parties in respect of the recommended actions included in the Guidance Note.

News
Publications
  • Guidance Note on addressing the risks of trafficking in human beings related to the war in Ukraine and the ensuing humanitarian crisis (2022) [EN - FR]
  • 12th General Report (2022) - Thematic chapter [EN - FR]
  • Guidance Note on the entitlement of victims of trafficking, and persons at risk of being trafficked, to international protection [EN - FR - BOS - SRP - TUR]
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