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Protecting Ukrainian Refugees from Human Trafficking to Be Discussed at Helsinki Commission Hearing

WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following hearing:

PROTECTING UKRAINIAN REFUGEES FROM HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Thursday, April 7, 2022
10:30 a.m.
Dirksen Senate Office Building
Room 562

Watch live: www.youtube.com/HelsinkiCommission

More than 4 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia’s massive invasion on February 24, the largest migration of people in Europe since the Second World War. Given Ukraine’s exit restrictions on males from 18-60, the vast majority of those leaving are women and children. Most cross the Ukrainian border without resources or a place to go, making them extremely vulnerable to human trafficking. Reports indicate that traffickers already are trolling border areas trying to lure refugees with promises of accommodation, onward transportation, or employment.

Ukrainian orphans and unaccompanied minors are particularly susceptible to such predators, and they need not only to be safely evacuated from Ukraine, but also securely tracked and transferred into national child protection systems so they do not fall prey to human traffickers or otherwise disappear.

Witnesses will examine efforts by frontline states, the international community, NGOs, and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights to prevent refugees from becoming victims of human traffickers, to coordinate the reception and transfer of unaccompanied minors, to conduct awareness-raising and prevention programs near the border, and to provide security to protect refugees.

The following witnesses are scheduled to testify:

Panel 1:

  • Dr. Kari Johnstone, Senior Official, U.S. Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

Panel 2:

  • Ms. Tatiana Kotlyarenko, Anti-Trafficking Advisor, OSCE Office for Democratic Institution and Human Rights
  • Mr. Mykola Kuleba, Director of Save Ukraine and former Presidential Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Mr. Nic McKinley, Founder and CEO, DeliverFund

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