"Trafficking in persons is considered to be a contemporary form of slavery."
WHO WE ARE
We are a non-governmental organization in Ukraine with a bi-directional goal: working to prevent trafficking in women and helping the victims of trafficking.
Based on our research, we have found that Ukraine is both a sending and transit country for trafficking in women. Women are trafficked within and outside of Ukraine for the purposes of prostitution, domestic labor, and marriage.
The problem of counteracting trafficking in human beings has drawn the attention of many non- governmental organizations. The Foundation Against Trafficking in Women (STV), whose efforts were directed toward the prevention trafficking in women and trafficked persons' support, was founded at the end of 1980's in The Netherlands. Together with non-governmental organizations from Poland and the Czech Republic, STV initiated the La Strada program - Prevention of trafficking in women from Central and Eastern Europe. Non-governmental organizations in Ukraine (1997) and Bulgaria (1998) later joined this program.
The international women's rights centre "La Strada-Ukraine" was registered by the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine (# 1010) in March 1998. Its activity is centered on the fulfillment of the La Strada Program - combating trafficking in women and support of trafficked persons. "La Strada-Ukraine" has the specific goal of public awareness, to draw the attention of society and representatives of governmental institutions to the problem of trafficking in women as a question of human rights violation.
The principal activities of "La Strada-Ukraine"
Summary of La Strada-Ukraine's activities for the 3 year period from May 1997 - May 2000
The following seminars were conducted within the framework of the La Strada program in partnership with government structures and non-governmental organizations.
LA STRADA AND TRAFFICKING IN UKRAINE
A great number of Ukrainian women have recently fallen victim to international sex-dealers.
Young women and girls are recruited to work abroad with tempting newspapers ads proposing easy money for work in waitressing, photo modeling or domestic service. "Marriage" agencies, "employment" agencie and "visa" agencies offer their assistance in securing employment.
Pimps frequently use the difficult economic situation in Ukraine, which is in transition to a market economy, by capitalizing on conditions caused by the labor-market crisis. According to official data, 75% of unemployed persons in Ukraine are women. Often women who have lost hope of obtaining gainful employment in Ukraine, are attracted to newpaper ads proposing jobs in foreign countries. However, when they accept the jobs and arrive in those countries, it often turns out that they were deceived about work conditions and are forced to work in the local sex-industry.
The activities of the "International Womens' Rights Centre La Strada Ukraine" in prevention of trafficking in women started in May 1997. The main thrust of the first year's efforts was aimed at attracting the attention of society in general and government structures to the problem of trafficking in women.
As part of the program, La Strada initiated radio and TV programs, organized "round-table" discussions, seminars, press conferences for mass media, educational establishments, manned hot-lines, and developed close contacts with governmental and non-governmental organizations.
Due to pressure brought on by La Strada, the Central Channel of Ukrainian TV showed the documentary film "Bought and Sold" (produced by Global Survival Network (GSN) in Washington, DC, USA).
At the initiative of La Strada, an All-Ukrainian seminar titled "Finding the way to prevention of trafficking of women in Ukraine" was held, marking one-year of La Strada Ukraine in operation.
La Strada cooperated with Ukraine's Parliament in discussions and adoption of the law against trafficking in women (article 124 of Ukraine's Criminal Code).
Ukraine's Ministry of Family and Youths, social services, and the Ministry of Education all work with La Strada to battle the trafficking problem.
Armed with information provided by La Strada, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ukrainian embassies abroad are enabled to help some women who find themselves in these predicaments return to Ukraine.
We are grateful to all who cooperated with us, and gave financial and organizational support, and in general assist us in solving the problem of trafficking in women.
La Strada is open to further cooperation, and is always prepared to work with other energetic individuals and organizations who wish to combat trafficking.