Ukraine does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons, but the government is trying to change that.

“The Government of Ukraine does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. Despite the documented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the government’s anti-trafficking capacity, the government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period,” reads the annual Trafficking in Persons Report by the U.S. Department of State.

The Department of State noted that the efforts made allowed Ukraine to remain on Tier 2 in terms of combating the problem.

“These efforts included raising the amount of financial assistance threefold for officially recognised victims; establishing more services available to victims of violence, including trafficking victims; and continuing to convict traffickers,” reads the report.

According to the United States, the Ukrainian authorities investigated and prosecuted far fewer suspected traffickers. Many newly hired prosecutors lacked trafficking-specific training, and courts continued to issue many lenient sentences.

The U.S. Department of State provided several recommendations on how to improve the situation in this area:

  • Vigorously investigate and prosecute alleged trafficking crimes and punish convicted traffickers with significant prison terms.
  • Increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict officials allegedly complicit in trafficking crimes.
  • Identify and certify the status of more victims.
  • Increase government funding for anti-trafficking efforts, particularly funding for local communities.
  • Increase training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges.
  • Increase victims’ access to legal assistance.
  • Establish a dedicated, independent, national counter-trafficking rapporteur position.

Natalia Tolub

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