U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry released the 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report at the State Department in Washington DC June 30. As directed by the U.S. Congress, the State Department prepares this report for all countries in the world. The goal of these reports is to stimulate action and create partnerships around the world in the fight against modern-day slavery.
For the fourth consecutive year, Ukraine is listed as a Tier 2 Watch List country. This is because the Government of Ukraine still does not fully comply with minimum standards, even though it is making significant efforts to eliminate trafficking.
The report notes that although the government developed and approved a new national action plan and approved more applications for official victim status during the reporting period, several factors hindered the government’s anti-trafficking efforts and capacity: corruption and weak rule of law; the drain on resources caused by Russian aggression; poor coordination at the national level; and a lack of understanding in government agencies about the issue. While the number of trafficking convictions declined sharply, continuing a multi-year decline, nearly 70 percent of convicted traffickers were not penalized with imprisonment. In addition, the government relied on foreign donors and NGOs to fund and provide most victim services.
The report also points out that the conflict in eastern Ukraine, fueled by Russia’s aggression, has displaced nearly two million people, and that this population is especially vulnerable to exploitation. In areas controlled by the Russia-led separatists, the situation has become particularly challenging.
The Embassy currently works with the Government of Ukraine to combat trafficking in persons. We are committed to helping Ukraine increase its efforts to meet anti-trafficking standards.
The complete text of the 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report can be found in English at: www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2016/index.htm