On 15 November 2023, an international seminar on human trafficking in the context of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine was organised in Geneva by the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in partnership with the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
The seminar featured the presentation of an essential tool, the Handbook for Embassies and Diplomatic Missions on How to Assist and Protect Victims of Human Trafficking, aimed at assisting and protecting victims of human trafficking and sensitising case handlers and consular staff at embassies and missions abroad on how to detect and address human trafficking.
The handbook, published by the CBSS and recently updated in 2023, received particular commendation from H.E. Amb. Yevheniia Filipenko, Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva, who also highlighted the importance of the anti-trafficking work carried out by the CBSS and its Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings (TF-THB).
She also emphasised the need to address the increased human trafficking risks in the wake of the Russian aggression against Ukraine and resultant humanitarian crisis.
Furthermore, the seminar presented the developments and findings of the IOM related to their anti-trafficking efforts in Ukraine.
“The Russian aggression against Ukraine, and the following humanitarian crisis, has further increased the human trafficking risks in our region,” said Grzegorz Poznański, the Director General of the CBSS, in his opening video address, further adding that “indications from the CBSS member states show examples of both sophisticated and direct approaches by criminals to recruit Ukrainian displaced persons into human trafficking or exploitative situations.”
The seminar, titled “Evidence on human trafficking in the context of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and presentation of the Handbook for Embassies and Diplomatic Missions on How to Assist and Protect Victims of Human Trafficking,” was inaugurated by H.E. Amb. Anna Jardfelt, the Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva.