The United Nations has stated that people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, especially women and children, are at risk of human trafficking and exploitation.
A month into the war in Ukraine, millions of people continue to flee their homes, most of them women and children.
As the conflict wages on, the risk of those fleeing being targeted by criminal networks increases.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime acts as the principal body in the United Nations dealing with combating human trafficking.
The latest data from the UNHCR indicates that among the 3.6 million refugees from Ukraine, about 90% are women and children.
“People who have fled conflict, especially women and children, are at particular risk of human trafficking and exploitation, and the longer the conflict continues, the more likely they are to be exploited,” said Ghada Wali, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
“We need urgent and resolute measures to protect these people and prevent them from becoming victims of human traffickers,” she continued.
The office confirmed that the trafficking of Ukrainian victims had already existed before the outbreak of the war.
It explained that the human trafficking operations rely on criminal smuggling networks operating between Ukraine and the countries of Europe and Central Asia.
The victims, as per the UN office, are exploited inside Ukraine as well as trafficked for exploitation internationally.
The global database of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime showed that, in 2018, Ukrainian trafficking victims were found in 29 countries, with more than half of them in Russia and a quarter of them in Poland.
* United Nations News Center