Christian organisations warn Ukrainians for human trafficking


European Union


Photo EPA, Martin Divisek

Mostly women and children flee Ukraine since men need to stay behind to fight. Therefore, Christian organisations warn against human trafficking.

“Where there are conflicts, there will be refugees and chaos. And chaos is an ideal breeding ground for people with less good intentions, such as human traffickers”. This says Simone Schoemaker from the Christian help organisation Scharlaken Koord (Scarlet Cord) to the Dutch Christian daily Reformatorisch Dagblad. This relief organisation helps women to avoid and leave sex work.

Schoemaker gets signals from her network that women receive messages in which they are offered help. “If you don’t know where to go, it is very tempting to accept a proposal from someone who offers help. I have also heard from contacts that messages are sometimes sent as if they were from the Red Cross. It is difficult for these women to maintain contact with family by telephone because, for example, there is no electricity available.”

“In some cases, it turns out that the person does not have good intentions”, says Schoemaker. “We also hear stories of women being met at the border to be trafficked. That can be for the sex industry, but just as much for housework or other labour exploitation.”

According to Schoemaker, there are many sex advertisements from Ukrainian women in the Netherlands. “They are already in the net of human trafficking and prostitution.”

Official bodies

In Spain, the Protestant organisation Diakonia warns of these dangers as well. This reports the Christian Spanish website Actuelidad Evangelica. Diakonia, therefore, advises to only go to official bodies or recognised NGOs. In addition, Diakonia is preparing an information brochure in Ukrainian to inform displaced people on the neighbouring borders of Ukraine.


In Germany, church representatives call for special protective measures for female refugees. This reports the news site Kathpress. “It must be prevented that they fall victim to human traffickers and are forced into illegality”, said Cologne auxiliary bishop Ansgar Puff. The bishop welcomed the special regulations already passed for Ukrainian refugees in Germany under immigration law, which include, among other things, a work permit. However, the auxiliary bishop also emphasised that the situation of immigrants without legal residence status also urgently needs to be improved. They are often illegally employed in strenuous domestic care or in accident-prone slaughterhouses.

Kathpress further reports that attempts are being made, for example, at train stations, to lure refugee women into prostitution or exploitative employment. These train stations seem to be a worry for the southern German state of Bavaria as well.

According to Christian website Evangelisch.de, the Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann, a Christian democrat, sees train stations as a possible hotspot for people with bad intentions towards refugees as well. Therefore, the Jadwiga centre, a centre that advocate for the rights of those affected by human trafficking and forced marriage, distributes a flyer in Ukrainian, English and German at train stations, in advice centres and in accommodations over the next few days, director Monika Cissek-Evans says. “Women have to be careful. Keep your passport and your phone safe, note the names and addresses of hosts, and don’t blindly trust women either – human traffickers aren’t just men.”



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