OSCE: Significantly more human trafficking since the Ukraine war

Status: 09.01.2023 12:12 p.m

Trafficking in people from Ukraine has increased massively since the beginning of the war – online searches for sex and depictions of abuse have increased by up to 600 percent, according to the OSCE. Most perpetrators would get away with it.

Trafficking in people from Ukraine has increased sharply since the start of the war in the country. As the daily newspaper “Welt” reported, citing the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), worldwide online searches for sexual services and depictions of abuse by Ukrainian women and children increased by up to 600 percent.

Even trafficking in pregnant women has increased since the war began on February 24 last year, OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid told the newspaper. The victims are lured online with false promises, abused in private accommodation in host countries or intercepted directly at the border by undercover human traffickers.

OSCE runs awareness campaign

Organized crime is often to blame. “These unscrupulous criminals then meet people who need help, have to earn money, don’t speak the language in the new country and are often traumatized by the war,” said Schmid. The OSCE is involved in a “Be safe” campaign, warning people about trafficking practices before leaving their country and providing a hotline. In addition, the OSCE is working with Ukraine’s neighboring countries and is trying to raise their awareness of the issue.

According to Schmid, global human trafficking is also increasing. “We now assume 25 to 27 million victims a year, and unfortunately only 10,000 cases end up with the law enforcement authorities a year.” Since only less than one percent of the victims are identified, there is “largely impunity for the perpetrators of human trafficking,” explained the German OSCE Secretary General.

She put the annual profits from human trafficking at 150 billion US dollars a year – that’s a fivefold increase over the past 15 years.

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