Added: Chaz Sisson - Date: 23.11.2021 04:37 - Views: 33952 - Clicks: 8080
Desperate to find work, they leave home on the promise of a job only to be ushered into a life of forced labour and abuse. Two Ukrainian women reveal the trauma of trafficking and how a secret hospital is helping them rebuild their lives. T he hospital where Dr Olga Milinchuk works has no outside and no waiting rooms. The address is a closely guarded secret, as are the identities of her patients. When Milinchuk opened this rehabilitation centre in , under the auspices of the International Organisation of Migration IOM , it was dealing almost exclusively with young women who had returned home after escaping sex trafficking.
Today, her patients are men and women of all ages who crossed a border on the promise of a job, but found themselves on a journey into forced labour, abuse and debt bondage. They come with gastric and intestinal diseases from malnourishment, sexually transmitted diseases, and psychiatric problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Forced labour is difficult to detect. Traffickers deceive victims into travelling without valid visas, keep workers trapped in debt bondage and reliant on their employers for food and accommodation, or stop unpaid workers from leaving through violence and intimidation. Trapped in conflict with Russia and weakened by decades of government mismanagement, Ukraine is suffering a deepening economic malaise.
The country has long been a regional trafficking hub. The IOM estimates that more than , people have been trafficked from the country since independence in An estimated 2. Traffickers prey on them, with police intercepting dozens of displaced people in the hands of traffickers en route to Germany, Russia, Belarus, Poland and Israel. The inflated currency is pushing millions of people into destitution. Thousands are trying to find work abroad — by whatever means possible. That puts them at the mercy of criminals.
Milinchuk says she has treated a year-old daughter sold by her mother to a Turkish brothel and a year-old mother with disabilities sold by her son to beg in Russia. Former patients say the hospital saved their lives. Olya, a year-old survivor from a small town in central Ukraine, travelled to Moscow with a friend in on the promise of a job selling Chinese products in a market. On arriving, Olya says they were met by a man named Rahid, who took them to a warehouse where they were asked to sort clothes.
We slept there on sacks and bags. There was no fresh air, no place to wash ourselves. The gate was closed but when the bus arrived, two guards came out. They were huge and had guns. The guards said we had to go with them. They took me and another girl. We were powerless before such huge men. Eventually, police raided the factory and the guards told them to run. Olya fled into a forest and spent the next few weeks hitchhiking and hiding on trains. She was recruited by a trafficker on the promise of work caring for an elderly woman in Moscow. Nadia and the three women with whom she had travelled were kept in a house, beaten, underfed, sexually harassed and forced into domestic servitude.
I thought it was heaven after hell … they just dragged me out of that depression. The patients are usually from the most vulnerable sectors of Ukrainian society — with limited education and few opportunities. The rehabilitation centre not only treats their trauma, but trains them in vocational skills to make them more employable.
Modern-day slavery in focus Ukraine. Sex, lies and psychological scars: inside Ukraine's human trafficking crisis. An installation in Kiev in aimed to raise awareness of human trafficking: the silhouettes represent the thousands of Ukrainians who have been trafficked since , according to the IOM. Modern-day slavery in focus is supported by. Maxim Tucker in Kiev. Thu 4 Feb UK immigration bill will play into hands of traffickers, anti-slavery experts warn.
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