The Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) has warned States and front-line civil society organizations that it is necessary to urgently adopt measures to protect those fleeing war in Ukraine from human traffickers, in particular minors and orphans.
The Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) on Thursday, March 17, warned of the dangers of people fleeing war in Ukraine falling victim to exploitation and human trafficking.
The experts urged States and associations to adopt all measures that are indispensible to safeguard those fleeing war. According to several reports, minors and orphans in particular are being targeted by human traffickers, the organization said in a statement released on Thursday.
Suspected trafficking cases reported
"People fleeing war are physically and psychologically weakened, unfamiliar with their new surroundings and highly vulnerable to falling prey to criminals," GRETA President Helga Gayer was quoted as saying in the statement released by the Council of Europe's anti-trafficking body.
Gayer spoke about reports of traffickers targeting parentless children fleeing Ukraine, adding that many such children are currently unaccounted for after the hasty evacuation of orphanages and foster homes.
'Urgent steps needed'
Such reports, she observed, concern both individuals who have crossed the border as well as those who have remained trapped in the country.
"Urgent steps must be taken to strengthen coordination at border crossings and reception facilities and to ensure the accurate registration of refugees and their access to necessary documentation, residence permits and essential services," Gayer went on to say in the statement.
"The authorities must take steps to prevent fraudulent offers of transportation, accommodation and work, and strengthen safety protocols for unaccompanied children, linking them to national child protection systems", added the president of GRETA.