Traffickers preying on refugees fleeing UkraineHuman Trafficking
Trafficking gangs are preying on vulnerable women and children fleeing the war in Ukraine, according to reports.
Authorities in neighbouring Poland and Romania have confirmed that suspects are being arrested near the Ukraine border and check points are being set up to search suspicious vehicles.
According to Sky News, criminals are taking young children to sell on to gangs in Europe and forcing desperate women, many of whom have left their partners in Ukraine, into slavery and prostitution.
In past weeks, anti-trafficking groups including CARE have warned that Ukrainian refugees are particularly vulnerable to exploitation.
CARE's trafficking policy officer Lauren Agnew told The Independent the situation is "hugely alarming", describing an "acute risk" to women in particular.
In an interview with Mail Online earlier this month, Ms Agnew stressed that: "The war in Ukraine will create a worsening situation in terms of human trafficking.
"It will have a vulnerable domino effect across Europe and refugees are at an increasingly high risk of exploitation. It is certain that as time goes on we will see a spike in numbers caused by refugees being exploited by traffickers and ending up potentially as sex workers, involved in criminal gangs or forced labour", she said.
CARE is working to raise awareness of the additional trafficking threat posed by the Ukraine war and calling on governments to take account of it and act.