BRAMA, Sep 29, 2004, 11:00 am ET
New Funding for IOM Counter Trafficking Project
(Sept. 21, 2004) The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing US$1,999,673 to the IOM office in Kiev to carry out a two-year project aimed at fighting human trafficking.
The project will focus on reducing trafficking in persons from, through and within Ukraine, particularly women and children aged 12 to 25, through:
Increasing awareness by ensuring that government and community leaders, service providers and the general public are informed about the problem, and that at-risk groups are knowledgeable about how to protect themselves and motivated to do so;
Assisting victims and ensuring their dignified reintegration;
Strengthening the coordination of national and regional counter-trafficking programs; and
Working for improved information on trafficking.
Over 90% of the operational budget will be used for direct support for actions undertaken by civil society organizations and institutions. These organizations play critical roles in providing prevention and return and reintegration services to potential and returned victims of trafficking.
IOM and its NGO partners have developed a referral and monitoring system to facilitate the sustainable, safe and humane reintegration of the victims. IOM cooperates with a partner network of 25 NGOs in 22 of Ukraine's 24 oblasts and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
This project plans to identify at least 30 new NGOs and civil society organizations to join the referral system, and provide training for their staff and supply them with the necessary equipment to carry out their work.
Since early 2000 IOM Kiev has helped some 1,600 victims of trafficking with direct assistance that includes medical, psychological and vocational training.
Ukraine is considered one of the main countries of origin in Europe for the trafficking of persons, particularly women and children, for the purpose of forced prostitution and sexual exploitation. Because of its geographic and economic situation, Ukraine is also used as a transit country for trafficked persons.
The Ukrainian Government has made serious and sustained efforts to combat trafficking and to comply with international minimum standards over the past five years. Today, Ukraine is one of Europe's most active countries in the fight against trafficking including the establishment of counter-trafficking units within the Ministry of Interior and the recent ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.