Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ukraine

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 11 June 2003
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ukraine, 11 June 2003, available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Ukraine (Tier 2)

Ukraine is a source country for women and girls trafficked to Central and Western Europe and the Middle East for purposes of sexual exploitation. There are reports that men and boys are trafficked for labor purposes. The growth of internal trafficking of young girls is a rising concern, as is the susceptibility of children in orphanages to traffickers. Victims are recruited via agencies and firms as well as through relatives and acquaintances.

The Government of Ukraine does not yet fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In the past year, the government has shown an effort to sustain and improve existing anti-trafficking structures and mechanisms and increase the ability to prosecute and convict traffickers. Inconsistent cooperation between central government authorities and varying levels of corruption impeded some of the government's planned efforts.


Last year, the Ukrainian Government approved the Comprehensive Program for Combating Trafficking in Persons for 2002-2005, which created specific mandates for each ministry. The government has two separate anti-trafficking councils: one is a coordinating body headed by the Ombudswoman, while the other is headed by the Deputy Prime Minister with the primary task of reporting to the Cabinet of Ministers and the President. The Ministry of Education continued to support mandatory education initiatives in schools. NGOs are active in lobbying government counterparts at both the local and central levels, and government officials regularly attend NGO-offered trainings and workshops, thus increasing the level of cooperation. The government supports preventive public awareness campaigns, although such campaigns are primarily conducted by NGOs.


The current criminal code prohibits international trafficking and related crimes, but it does not proscribe internal trafficking, which must be pursued under related offenses. The Ministry of Interior has an Anti-Trafficking unit with officers in 27 administrative regions throughout Ukraine. In the past year, the police opened 169 trafficking investigations, with 41 prosecutions. Twenty-eight defendants were sentenced, with 17 receiving prison terms. While fear of retribution prevents the majority of victims from cooperating with police and prosecutors, 202 victims provided testimony during the year.


Regional referral systems between police and NGOs exist throughout Ukraine, due to the allocation of specific anti-trafficking police officers in each region and active victim assistance NGOs. NGOs rehabilitate and reintegrate victims and put them in touch with police for protection and pursuit of criminal cases. The government's witness protection law is not effectively implemented due to a lack of funds, but in-court protections exist, such as protection identifying information in court records. In the absence of a functioning program at the central level, NGOs collaborate with local police and secure ad hoc witness and victim protection. In specific cases, they provide mobile phones to call police, apartment relocation assistance, and police and victim joint surveillance of the potential movement by traffickers. Local NGOs that provide victim assistance enhanced their cooperation with local police, and referrals between NGOs and police are increasingly common.

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