Sex Traffickers Prey On Eastern Europeans
Ron Synovitz & RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, Radio Free Europe/RadioLiberty, August 23, 2005. More details visit the page –http://gvnet.com/humantrafficking/Ukraine.htm
Maria is a 30-year-old mother fromUkrainewho left behind her husband and two young children to take what she was told would be a job inItalyas a cleaner. The recruiters who originally promised her a high-paying salary were men who posed as representatives of a legitimate employment agency. Maria says they gained her trust because they looked professional and persuasive.
Maria says her nightmare began after she and the other women arrived inItalyand were met by several suspicious men. They were human traffickers in the illegal global sex industry. “We went there and arrived in one city. They took us to a building on the outskirts of the city and they told us to clean off, to relax from the travel. Later, they confronted us with the fact that we would be providing sex services. It is a shock for a human being. Escape from there was impossible. The windows were barred and there was the constant presence of a guard,” Maria said.
TRAFFICKING HOTLINE – In the Ukraine, now even the simplest of handsets could potentially save lives thanks to three of the country’s leading service providers who have collaborated with the International Organization for Migration to set up a toll-free information hotline. Customers of Ukrainian mobile phone service providers KyivStar, UMC and life:) can dial ‘527‘ from their handsets in order to receive information and advice from the IOM on migration and trafficking issues, and potential migrants will also get information on legal methods of migration.
TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Ukrainewas also a destination country for individuals trafficked from former Soviet republics and South Asia. For example, the IOM reported one case of trafficking from Moldovato Ukraine. A much larger problem involved trafficking of individuals within the country. As of September 30, the IOM reported three cases of internal trafficking. However, the IOM believed the actual number was 100 times greater. There were a few reports that mothers trafficked their underage children and forced them to beg.
There were also reports that both women and men were forced to work in agriculture, especially in the southern regions, in summer and autumn. Children were exploited in industrial cities in the east. For example, 2 adults in the eastern town ofSnizhne, Donetsk Region, were arrested and given 4-year suspended sentences for creating a foster home and then forcing 11 foster children to work in their illegal coal mine.
Men were mainly trafficked as construction workers and miners. Children who were trafficked across the border or within the country were forced to provide sexual services, engage in unpaid work, or beg. The overwhelming majority of trafficking victims were women, who were used as sex‑workers, housekeepers, seamstresses, and dishwashers. Trafficked women were also used to bear children for infertile couples. There was a lack of information regarding male victims of trafficking, because men generally did not recognize themselves as victims of trafficking. As a result, men rarely addressed complaints to law enforcement agencies.
Estimates regarding the number of trafficked citizens varied, but the IOM stated that one 1 of every 10 persons knew someone in their community who has been trafficked. According to Human Rights Ombudsman Karpachova, approximately five to seven million citizens lived and worked abroad, many without legal protection, and were therefore potentially vulnerable to traffickers.
Traffickers used a variety of methods to recruit victims, including advertisements in newspapers and on television and radio that offered jobs abroad with high salaries and promises of modeling contracts, marriage proposals, and trips through travel agencies. Traffickers often presented themselves as friends of other friends and deceived the relatives of potential victims. Most of the traffickers were members of organized crime groups. The traffickers often paid for the processing of passports and travel documents for the victims, thus placing them into debt bondage. In some cases the traffickers simply kidnapped their victims.