U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ukraine

Ukraine (Tier 2)

Ukraine is a source country for women and girls trafficked to Europe and the Middle East for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and for men trafficked to Europe and North America for forced labor. Ukraine is also a significant transit country for Asian and Moldovan victims trafficked to Western destinations. Ukraine has seen an increase in the trafficking of children, especially orphans, during the last year.

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. Despite resource constraints, Ukraine continues to make progress in combating trafficking, demonstrated by a steady increase in prosecutions and convictions. But progress has lagged in implementing the Comprehensive Program for Combating Trafficking in Persons, coordinating with law enforcement officials of destination countries, and fighting government corruption. The Ukraine parliament should adopt amendments to the criminal code that will strengthen anti-trafficking legislation.


Ukraine's criminal code criminalizes trafficking in persons, but does not address recruitment nor clearly define internal trafficking as a separate crime. The government has drafted and introduced to parliament amendments to the criminal code to bring Ukraine into compliance with international standards, but they have not yet been adopted. In 2003, prosecutors tried 41 trafficking cases and convicted traffickers in 29 cases. These results represent increases of 215% and 190%, respectively, over 2002. Those 29 cases involved 32 defendants of whom 11 were sentenced to prison terms, two to restraint of liberty in correction facilities, and 19 to probation. Despite this improvement, the government should provide oversight to the sentencing process to ensure that judges are implementing the legislation effectively, and to prevent the risk that judges will be improperly influenced. Corruption remains a problem for Ukraine in government and at all levels of society. Official corruption decreases the effectiveness of law enforcement efforts on trafficking. Cooperation and coordination with law enforcement officials in destination countries has improved, but remains inadequate to address the scope of the problem. Weak border security contributes to trafficking, especially along the Ukraine-Russia border.


The police and Ukrainian embassies abroad engage NGOs to provide trafficking victims with protection services, particularly at the airport and the port of Odessa. Law enforcement officers should continue efforts to publicize and provide resources for witness protection programs. During prosecution in 2003, 278 victims testified, an increase over the 202 victims who testified in 2002. In June 2003, the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers approved guidelines for establishing and operating victim rehabilitation centers. The Government of Ukraine introduced simplified procedures in late 2003 to assist victims of trafficking and to facilitate their repatriation.


Although the Ukrainian Government has made some progress in implementing its Comprehensive Program for Combating Trafficking in Persons, its Interdepartmental Coordination Council for Combating Trafficking in Persons has had no formal meetings since its establishment in December 2002. Local commissions on combating trafficking were created throughout Ukraine pursuant to the Comprehensive Program, but their quality and effectiveness vary. Regionally throughout Ukraine, NGOs collaborated with Family and Youth Affairs Departments on information and education campaigns, such as peer training at schools, universities, cafes, and clubs.


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