Friday, May 20, 2022, WASHINGTON, D.C. — International Justice Mission (IJM) welcomes the passage of emergency supplemental funding by U.S. Congress to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and surrounding countries in Eastern Europe.
“We applaud Congress for the inclusion of language in the Ukraine aid package that prioritizes programming to combat human trafficking. As a prevention and protection measure, targeted U.S. foreign assistance is vital to assist public justice systems throughout Eastern Europe and will further strengthen ongoing efforts of IJM and other civil society organizations to combat human trafficking in this ongoing humanitarian crisis,” said Nate King, IJM Director for Congressional Affairs.
According to UNHCR, more than 6 million people have fled Ukraine since late February 2022 in search of safety in Poland, Romania, and other neighboring countries. As millions of refugees move across national borders under desperate circumstances, their vulnerability to exploitation by trafficking increases drastically.
For three years, IJM Romania has been addressing cross-border trafficking in Eastern Europe and is currently working at the Ukrainian-Romanian border to support and protect refugees from further exploitation by traffickers amid these dire circumstances.
“We know that trafficking networks between Eastern and Western Europe already existed before and this current crisis just exacerbates the possibility of increased human trafficking in the region,” said Shawn Kohl, IJM Director for Central and Eastern Europe. “As IJM and our partner organizations on the ground continue our work, we are grateful for proactive actions such as these made by the U.S. government and other supportive nations around the world.”