From April 18–20, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) trained 10 Ukrainian law professors on investigating and combating child trafficking. Participants of the Kyiv training came from five regions—Kyiv, L’viv, Kharkiv, Odesa and Donets’k—and will lead upcoming trainings for investigators in Donets’k, L’viv and Kharkiv.
Ukraine is a source, transit and limited destination country for both adult and child victims trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labor and forced begging. The International Organization for Migration reports that 4% of reported human trafficking victims in Ukraine are minors. However, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute says the actual numbers could be higher, as many incidents of human trafficking are not reported.
Having been working to combat human trafficking in Ukraine since 2007, ABA ROLI launched an anti-child trafficking program in 2010 to help enhance the Ministry of Interior’s capacity to identify and investigate child trafficking. ABA ROLI created an expert working group—comprising law professors and representatives from governmental and non-governmental organizations—to identify gaps in law enforcement training. Following its study, the working group produced a training curriculum and a user-friendly guidebook on the investigation of child trafficking.
While the guidebook will be published and distributed soon, the late-April training of trainers was conducted by members of the working group based on the curriculum they developed. In addition to leading substantive discussions, the experts also shared their experiences with pre-trial investigation of child trafficking and with working with child victims. The trainers emphasized that working with children requires extra sensitivity and developmentally appropriate procedures and tactics. They said investigators should be sensitive to the physical and psychological trauma caused by sexual, labor and other types of exploitation and abuse. The training also highlighted the benefits of cooperation between law enforcement and non-governmental organizations.
The trainees said the discussions will help strengthen child trafficking prevention and protection in Ukraine. ABA ROLI will hold additional trainings for trainers and investigators.
To learn more about our work in Ukraine, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected]