In despair, feeling grief and sorrow – this is the state in which women and children cross the border forced to flee the horrors of war. Traffickers earning money from labor and sexual exploitation can take advantage of this.
It would seem that the number of those leaving Ukraine now is declining. However, it is now that hundreds of thousands of people in difficult situations are moving to the border from the cities where the fighting continues, thanks to evacuation measures.
Therefore, this information may be especially important for the displaced people now.
What should you do to avoid becoming a victim of human traffickers?
Keep your documents safe
- Never give your passport or your child’s documents to anyone.
- Make copies or take photos of your personal documents in advance.
- Send them to your mailbox for additional storage.
Be as careful as possible while traveling.
- Try to plan your route from city to city, think about where you will stay, in which community you will spend the night.
- Be as careful as possible if you dare to get into a car with strangers, no matter how friendly they look. Take a picture of the license plate number and send it to your loved ones with whom you will keep in touch throughout the journey.
Be reserved when communicating even with friendly strangers
- Arrange with someone to keep in contact on the way to a safe place where you are planning to stay. It can be friends, family, even co-workers. Most importantly, it has to be someone you’ve known for a long time and can trust.
- Agree with these people on a code word or sign that will mean danger and a need for help.
- Inform your loved ones on a daily basis about your location and the offers you receive (for example, about accommodation, employment, paperwork, etc.).
- Do not give your mobile phone or other means of communication to anyone while traveling.
- Do not rush trusting random strangers: they could be involved in the human trafficking scheme.
Be careful with money
- Draw up documents for the trip in person.
- Do not borrow from strangers or people who are very insistent on lending you money. This could lead to further slavery.
- Also, don’t accept any jobs with promises of quick buck.
Where to go and where to get more information?
Mentoring community has put together for you a list of proven contacts of official agencies, NGOs and activists. They can tell you what to do if you or your loved ones are in danger.
- If you suspect that you have fallen into the hands of traffickers, call 112 (emergency line in the EU) right away.
- Information portal developed at the initiative of the Government Commissioner for Gender Policy and the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine.
- A memo for girls and women crossing the state border in connection with hostilities in Ukraine on how to protect yourself and your family from the dangers of human trafficking.
- National Counter-Trafficking and Migrant Advice Hotline:
- 0-800-505-501 or 527 (free and anonymous, daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.).
- Women’s Safety Abroad Chatbot: hotline phone numbers; embassy addresses; contacts for volunteers, lawyers and psychologists, etc.
- La Strada Ukraine National Hotline for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking and Gender Discrimination (free of charge, 24 hours a day, anonymous): 116123 або 0 800 500 335, or Telegram.
- Information Human Rights Center “Edelweiss” NGOadvises on combating human trafficking (through the organization’s Facebook page or by calling 098 170 36 80). Representatives of the organization can refer you to network specialists based on the region and specifics.
- Anti-Human Trafficking Expert Nataliia Kulykova: 063 049 72 56
You can read more here:
- Useful information for Ukrainian citizens who are planning to go abroad: interactive map from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
- Voluntary registration of Ukrainian citizens traveling abroad: FRIEND system.
- Rules of entry to Ukraine’s neighboring countries during the war.
- Assistance to the citizens of Ukraine in Bulgaria.
- Tips for women and children on what to do after crossing the border in Poland.
- Official information from the Slovak Government.
- Guide for Displace People in the Czech Republic.