La Strada Ukraine alerts the UN Special Rapporteur on lack of action against trafficking in human beings by Ukrainian state actors

La Strada Int’l (Newsletter Nr 22, September 2011) / HRWF (03.10.2011) – – On 7 September 2011 La Strada Ukraine contacted the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children, in an attempt to draw her attention to the alarming situation in the country. As a result of the administrative reform started in December 2010, there is currently no state body assigned in the country to deal with prevention of trafficking, provision of assistance to trafficked persons and efforts coordination both at the national and regional level. Only the Ministry of Interior, responsible for combating crimes, takes up the combat of human trafficking as part of their job. Who to address regarding other issues related to human trafficking, is unclear to La Strada Ukraine and other actors in the field. It seems no Ministry is really eager to take up the issue. Moreover, the results of a public monitoring by La Strada Ukraine, showed lack of political will in general to follow up on national and international obligations to counteract trafficking in persons.

Ukraine ratified the Palermo Protocol, the CoE Convention Against Trafficking and signed the Cooperation Plan between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Ukraine on Combating Human Trafficking. In March 2010 the government received recommendations from the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which raised concerns about the low effectiveness of anti-trafficking policies in Ukraine. However there is still no action plan to implement the obligations the country committed itself to. Moreover, the state anti-trafficking programme draft was developed about a year ago and is still not adopted by the government.

A positive new change however is a newly adopted anti-trafficking law. The law was prepared during a period of three years. According to La Strada Ukraine the law is comprehensive, including the new ‘social chapter’ on prevention and providing assistance to trafficked persons. Also positive is that the law contains a separate chapter devoted to children issues and a chapter on control and supervision, including Article 26 where public control on implementation of the provision of the law is mentioned. The National Referral Mechanism is also included. The adoption of the law should accelerate to define the powers of the governmental institutions in the field of combating trafficking in human beings and also the adoption of the new State Programme. According to the law, the Cabinet of Ministers must appoint a national coordinator on trafficking in human beings.

However with the current situation, that no state body is responsible for implementation of anti-trafficking policies, La Strada Ukraine is concerned about the implementation of the new law in practice and about the fact that the proposed provisions on a National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings, as well as the provision on the Fund of providing assistance to victims of THB has been left out in the final text.

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