A21 Releases 2022 Ukraine Impact Report: Empowering Vulnerable Refugees and Equipping Frontline Professionals in the Face of Human Trafficking

DALLAS, TX, July 26, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ahead of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30, A21—a global nonprofit organization determined to eradicate human trafficking through awareness, intervention, and aftercare—released a new 2022 Ukraine Impact Report detailing the organization’s response to the refugee crisis resulting from Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has left millions vulnerable to human trafficking.

A21 is directly addressing critical gaps in human trafficking awareness by distributing trafficking prevention resources—like the Safe Employment Campaign—and forming strategic partnerships to provide professional training to frontline employees in the region.

This report details A21’s response to the heightened vulnerability of millions of refugees:

  • In 2022, in response to Russia’s bombing of Kyiv and regions throughout Ukraine, A21 quickly pivoted by relocating its office from Kyiv to Warsaw, Poland to ensure continued uninterrupted operations and staff safety.
  • As Poland swiftly became the neighboring country receiving the most Ukrainian refugees, A21 prioritized raising awareness among displaced refugees and training frontline professionals to identify human trafficking and provide resources. 
  • After connecting with survivors previously in A21’s Aftercare Program in Ukraine, A21 reopened six former cases to offer further assistance such as psychological support, access to medical supplies, finances for rent and utilities, food and basic necessities, and assistance in relocating to safer areas of Ukraine or other countries.
  • A21 conducted 13 professional training sessions for 213 frontline professionals across Europe. This resulted in Polish refugee centers implementing procedure modifications which moved beyond victim identification strategies to proactively safeguarding vulnerable refugees from potential traffickers. 
  • In collaboration with various partners in Poland and Ukraine, A21 distributed 30,147 hotline leaflets, safe employment cards and flyers, 9,000 map brochures and 4,220 refugee comic books.

A21 has been operational in Ukraine since 2009, and from 2009 to 2021 79% of victims were recruited through fraudulent employment opportunities. As the war continued well into 2022, and Ukrainian refugees realized the likelihood of remaining in Poland indefinitely, many Ukrainian refugees in Poland started actively seeking employment. A21’s Safe Employment Campaign, launched at refugee centers in the second half of 2022 targeting Ukrainian refugees in Poland, Latvia and Germany, includes a 35-min video created by A21 with guidance on safely seeking employment.

“It’s critical to understand that Ukrainian refugees, like myself, are extremely vulnerable to human trafficking because they are fleeing war, coming from another country with no protection. They think and feel that they will finally be safe, but another danger could be waiting for them,”  said Julia Sachenko, A21’s Partnership Development Lead in Poland. “These prevention materials prevent more cases of human trafficking by making refugees aware of traffickers tactics, and clearly displaying hotlines they can call for help. Additionally, our professional training for frontline employees is multiplying impact in the region. These trainings equip on-the ground teams across Europe to develop contextualized counter-trafficking efforts within their sphere of influence.”

Download the full 2022 Ukraine Impact Report.

Learn more about global emerging trafficking trends from 2022 by exploring A21’s Hotline & Impact Reports for the United States, Greece, Cambodia, South Africa, Thailand and Bulgaria at A21.org/ImpactReport or by following us on social media on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter.

About A21:
A21 is a global nonprofit organization determined to eradicate human trafficking through awareness, intervention, and aftercare. Currently operating in 19 locations, 14 countries, A21 aims to combat modern-day slavery through a multi-dimensional operational strategy: Reach, Rescue, and Restore. Through partnerships and the efforts of supporters all over the globe, A21 truly believes that a multitude of victims can be identified and assisted, and perpetrators can be brought to justice. A21.org

For interview inquiries, please contact Lauren Wittel-Henrie at lauren.w@a21.org.

Press artwork:
A21 Ukraine/Poland Photos

Prevention Distribution Materials:

Safe Employment Campaign (Ukrainian)


Team Members Displaying A21 Trafficking Prevention Resources in Warsaw