United Nations warns that war in Ukraine puts women at risk of being victims of trafficking

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File – Two women sing the Ukrainian national anthem at an anti-war protest in Germany. – Frank Rumpenhorst/dpa

The United Nations has warned that the war in Ukraine has put women and girls in that country at high risk of becoming victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation.

This was stated by UN Women gender advisor Jo-Anne Bishop during her intervention this Tuesday in an Equality and Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament, highlighting that women constitute «80 percent» of the refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Bishop highlighted that after nine months of conflict, Ukrainian civil society organizations have reported an increase in human trafficking at the Ukrainian borders. The UN representative explained that these criminal organizations are increasingly using social networks to recruit and deceive their victims.

Sixty-five percent of the victims of trafficking are young women and girls, and generally for the purpose of sexual exploitation, said Bishop, who recalled how from the beginning of the war the focus was put on this situation as the queues at the border of women and children trying to cross to the other side grew.

«Women and girls face economic hardship, physical danger and separation from their family networks. Particularly during mass displacement, the speed at which human traffickers gain access to these women increases,» warned Bishop, who called on international partners to collaborate.

While Bishop highlighted the joint measures taken by the Government of Ukraine and the United Nations to tackle this problem, she emphasized the need to continue financing mechanisms to combat exploitation, such as the UN Women and Peace Fund.

«These resources enable women’s organizations to carry out the important work they were created to do, including services for survivors of violence, victims of sexual exploitation and support for social support structures,» Bishop explained.