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With more than 2 million people fleeing Ukraine, mostly women and children, the alarm over abuse of the vulnerable is being raised.
An estimated 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. The Department of Home Affairs estimates there are 2.5 million working in forced labour or sexual exploitation at any given time, although other organisations put this figure as high as 30 million.
With more than 2.5 million people fleeing the invasion in Ukraine, NGOs and governments are raising the alarm about potential trafficking and abuse of refugees. Volunteers across Poland, Slovakia, Czechia, Moldova, Romania and even Australia are offering transport and accommodation to the primarily women and children fleeing — raising red flags about some of the volunteers’ motives.
Traffickers are ‘extremely opportunistic’
Human trafficking policy expert for charity organisation CARE Lauren Agnew tells Crikey she expected a spike in victim numbers as the European crisis wore on.
Read more about the risk of human trafficking and modern slavery…
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About the Author
Associate Editor @AmberMaySchultz
Amber covers health and social affairs for Crikey. She has been shortlisted for two Young Walkley Awards, was the 2021 Mumbrella Young Writer of the Year for her coverage of sexual violence, and in 2018 completed the Jacoby-Walkley scholarship. She holds two Master degrees and previously worked for The Age, Nine News and ABC’s Tonightly.