COLORADO SPRINGS — As the war between Ukraine and Russia continues, civilians caught in the crossfire are not the only concern. In fact, 57 ant-trafficking organizations have come together in a collaboration for Ukrainian women and children to bring awareness to their plight.
“Traffickers all around the world… they prey on the most vulnerable. And refugees are incredible vulnerable. Estimates are about 90 percent of the Ukrainian refugees are women and children,” said Laura Parker, CEO and co-founder of Exodus Road, an anti-trafficking organization in Colorado Springs.
Because refugees are forced to rely on others for help, Parker said traffickers can and will take advantage of their situation.
“They’re offering fraudulent employment, fraudulent transportation or housing and when desperate refugees take those offers, they eventually find themselves in dangerous and exploitive situations,” Parker said.
Now, many human trafficking organizations all across the world have come together signing an open letter condemning the Russian invasion.
“It also speaks really clearly about the dangers of human trafficking and the increased risk of human trafficking for refugees and then outlines some specific steps that the international community can do,” Parker said.
So far, their main goal is educating the public and governments.
“We hope that, number one, it will get attention and that also governments and agencies will start to fund support specific to anti-trafficking work supporting this specific refugee crisis.”
As long as the crisis continues on in Eastern Europe, the number of people fleeing increases, which means human trafficking will only continue to escalate as well.
“Human trafficking specifically is one of the most horrific social justice issues of our time. It’s really important to pay attention to, to get involved in, to have compassion to and to let that compassion drive us to action and towards change,” Parker said.