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Poverty, despair, pandemic: Why human trafficking thrives in Ukraine and the world

Author : 112.ua News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

Human trafficking is a humiliating form of modern slavery
09:00, 19 October 2021

Human trafficking
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Modern slavery, when a person is sold as a commodity, forced to work for free or for a penny, is much more widespread today than it might seem at first glance. There are about 40 million people in labor slavery around the world. According to the UN, the world's annual income from human trafficking is about 150 billion per year. In Ukraine, human trafficking is considered a serious crime, but nonetheless flourishing.

Today, 18 October, is the European Day against Trafficking in Human Beings. It was founded by the European Parliament in 2007. Human trafficking involves different types and forms of human exploitation: forced labor, sexual exploitation, removal of organs and conducting experiments on people, forced pregnancy and the sale of children, the use of a person in begging, and military conflicts. This form of slavery is associated primarily with psychological and physical abuse.

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More than 175 countries worldwide have ratified the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Human Beings, which defines this type of crime and contains obligations to prevent and combat it. In addition, there are many other international agreements and conventions, as well as national laws designed to combat all forms of modern slavery, but human trafficking continues and is very successful. The fact is that this type of criminal activity brings in excess profits and is not associated with high risk. Sellers easily avoid punishment, and victims, who, as a rule, were far from being in the best position, pay with freedom, dignity, and health.

Traffickers in their criminal activities widely use modern technologies - more and more often they use the Internet for recruitment. UN experts have identified two strategies: "hunting", when the trafficker aggressively pursues the victim on a social network, and "fishing", when the perpetrator sets up networks, posting a job advertisement, and waiting for a potential victim to respond. The Internet also makes it possible to "broadcast" in real-time the very process of human exploitation, attracting many "clients" around the world at the same time.

The main factor that allows traffickers to enrich themselves is poverty. According to the UN, there are additional factors that increase the risk of exploitation, including migration, ethnicity, refugee status, disability, and illness.

Human trafficking is flourishing in almost all countries of the world, and the number of identified victims is growing. If in 2018 they talked about 50 thousand victims in 148 countries, then in 2021 this figure will exceed 75 thousand people. But the real number of victims of modern slavery can be much higher. Most often, in 50% of cases, people are bought for sexual exploitation, in 38% - for forced labor, 6% - for engaging in criminal activities, and less than 1% - this is begging, 1% - organ trafficking, 1% - forced marriage and pregnancy.

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The bulk of the victims of human trafficking, about 70%, are women, of which 20% are minors, another 20% are men, and the rest are boys.

The coronavirus pandemics have only exacerbated the situation. Border closures, self-isolation and lockdowns have led to a decline in economic growth, which in turn has turned into global poverty and poverty. In such a situation, people, in order to survive, agree to any job and often fall into the networks of criminals.

Human trafficking in Ukraine

In 2011, Ukraine adopted a separate law "On combating trafficking in persons", amended the Criminal Code, which gave definitions of "trafficking in persons" in accordance with the European Convention. Also, for trafficking in persons, criminal liability is provided - from 3 to 15 years in prison (Art. 149 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

As the National Police told 112.ua.tv, 4,757 facts related to human trafficking were revealed in Ukraine during the period of independence. 4 thousand 984 people received the status of victims in criminal proceedings under Art. 149 UKU. Of these, 1,246 are men, 3,268 are women, 415 are minors and 55 are minors.

"Most often, the victims of human trafficking were unmarried women, single mothers, divorced people, youth, orphans, people from disadvantaged families, the rural population, people who became victims of violence, including sexual violence, the poor, the needy," National police reports.

Sexual and labor forms of exploitation are most widespread in Ukraine.

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For 9 months of 2021, 220 criminal proceedings were initiated under Art. "Trafficking in human beings", in 133 of them the pre-trial investigation has been completed.

At the same time, according to the International Organization for Migration, since 1991, 260,000 Ukrainians have become victims of human trafficking, of which 49,000 - over the past three years. The main reason for the prosperity of this criminal activity remains the poverty of the population, as well as the imperfection of the law enforcement and judicial systems.

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