This year, World Refugees Day is taking extra significance as it comes amid the war in Ukraine which pushed global displacement figures to record levels, according to the United Nations figures. According to the UN's global trends report, more than 5 million Ukrainian refugees have been recorded across Europe since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
To mark World Refugees Day, @Talk to Loop caught up with La Strada Ukraine, a human rights organisation working to ensure gender equality and peace building. They work on the prevention of gender-based violence, including domestic violence as well as combating human trafficking.
What is the significance of World Refugees Day for La Strada Ukraine?
La Strada: Since 1997, La Strada has been working to protect human rights, and prevent gender-based violence and human trafficking. While we have advised many migrants, internally displaced persons and refugees over the years, the issue has become particularly acute since the beginning of the war, when millions of Ukrainians became forced refugees. And the risk of gender-based violence and trafficking among refugees is even greater and requires special attention.
What are some of the strategies you are using to prevent trafficking of refugees?
La Strada: We inform people about the dangers of entering into risky situations of human trafficking on social networks, through information campaigns. We also provide a 24/7 countrywide Helpline for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking and Gender Discrimination that provides psychological, legal and information advice.
Since the beginning of the war, most requests for the hotline came from refugees, including those from human trafficking.
La Strada: Our consultants are constantly trained, which allows us to provide better advice, e.g. to Ukrainian refugees staying in other countries.
What are the gaps and needs in response to the current refugee situation?
La Strada: There is need for coordination of activities by authorities and services in the countries receiving Ukrainian refugees in the field of combating human trafficking. We also need improvements of redirection mechanisms taking into account the linguistic specificity of victims.
There should be a focus in providing capacity building and additional finances of specialized services and NGOs in Ukraine working with victims of human trafficking.
Above all, cooperation between authorities of other countries and Ukrainian authorities in refugee matters is needed.
How can Talk to Loop support refugees or curb human trafficking of incidences?
La Strada: @TalktoLoop is a platform that people in need can use. In particular, access to the platform is available to refugees or people who have been victims of human trafficking or are at risk of such a situation in their own language. On Talk to Loop, victims can find contacts to organizations that can help them; get advice or share their stories anonymously, which can also help many people reduce the risk of trafficking. If you are in another country and dont speak that language or know who to contact in that country then Loop can help to redirect you.
If want to report a concern or add a vulnerable story that will apply to La Strada Ukraine visit https://app.talktoloop.org/stories or WhatsApp number: PL +48 888 880 017 / UA +38 099722736.
@TalktoLoop can be accessed by anyone in any part of the world as it uses technology to allow people receiving aid to give feedback; safely, easily, and without having to wait to be asked.
To find out more about La Strada visit: https://la-strada.org.ua/