Ukrainian Refugees

The Exploitation Of Ukrainian Refugees

Refugees, such as those currently facing displacement within Ukraine, are statistically more likely to fall victim to human trafficking and other human rights violations, such as forced labor. For example, a 2021 report from the United Nations stated that migrants account for more than half of trafficked persons in the world.

Displaced groups are some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Their desire for their family’s safety often overrides their instincts to protect themselves. For example, they may be looking for a safe passage out of their home country or work through which they can provide for their family – and traffickers can exploit this by offering them work or transportation only to hold this against them later. 

For example, “many persons fleeing conflict are also compelled to move irregularly to seek protection. For this, they resort to the services of smugglers.” What may additionally seem like a safe passage out of the country, offered by a good samaritan, can quickly become a nightmare scenario where entire families are subject to human rights abuses. 

Simply put, the refugee’s desire for safety has been exploited, and many Ukrainians are now experiencing forced labor or poor working conditions. 

The Labor Abuse Of Ukrainian Refugees.

Various instances have come to light detailing abuse faced by Ukrainian refugees in recent months. At the start of January, three tobacco factories in Logroño, Valencia, and Seville were closed – and many were arrested – after it was revealed that they were exploiting Ukrainian refugees through forced labor and poor working conditions. 

For example, many of the refugees working for the factories lived within the facility in cramped conditions. They were forced to work long hours and were not allowed to leave the facilities so they could remain undetected. 

It is believed that this exploitative situation began as early as 2021, but those facing abuse had not sought help through fear of deportation, further abuse, or legal consequences. 

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Various schemes and patterns of abuse have been reported throughout the crisis – many likely going undetected. 

While many refugees consider finding work their most crucial goal, their wages are often withheld – trapping them in terrible situations for long periods. One refugee, a young woman named Tatiana, spoke to PBS NewsHour, stating: 

 “Week after week, month after month, I was waiting for payment, but they paid me just a small part of what I was owed. In the end, it was all empty promises.” 

Labor abuses can also blend into other forms of human rights violations, such as sex trafficking and sexual abuse, which migrant women are particularly vulnerable to. For example, in a recent study, “ investigators identified numerous attempts to lure victims through offers of a ”bright future”, which tricked them into sexual exploration, or accommodation offers specifically targeted at Ukrainian refugees.” 

How Can We Help? 

“When we are in a position to make a change, we must do so,” said Jon Purizhansky, CEO and Founder of Joblio. 

As such, we must use the resources available to us to enact positive changes to ensure that refugees, such as those fleeing Ukraine, receive the support they need. This plight will take us closer to the fight to end human slavery, trafficking, and forced labor. 

The easiest way to help in this scenario is by raising awareness. This is because information is power. By helping to raise awareness of the various forms of abuse faced by Ukrainian refugees, we can help to enact positive change. For example, we can encourage law and policymakers to act upon these human rights violations. We can ensure that charities are given adequate funding to support refugees, reducing the chances of refugees needing to rely on smugglers and middlemen. 

To put it simply, whenever refugees cannot speak for themselves, we must be their voice.

As an employer with a commitment to diversity and inclusion, you can also help by making refugee and migrant employment part of your HR strategy. This was, you are making a demonstrable commitment to supporting refugees from across the world. One way in which you can achieve this goal is by joining the 9 major Canadian and multiple European enterprises that are already hiring through Joblio. 

“At Joblio, our services are designed to help foreign workers obtain work ethically and safely, no matter their scenario. We’re passionate about enacting positive change in the world of employment – and take a human-centric approach to what we do, “ said Jon Purizhansky. 

To find out more about Joblio or the vital work we carry out, please do not hesitate to get in touch today.

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