15 April 2022
Statement on risks of trafficking and exploitation facing refugees from Ukraine attributed to UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection
The Ukrainian refugee crisis is a protection crisis for women and children - they account for 90 per cent of all those fleeing from Ukraine across the borders.
We know that the risks of gender-based violence, trafficking, abuse, psychological trauma and family separation increase in times of conflict and displacement, but given the gender profile of this refugee outflow, and the fact that many children have fled alone, these are now multiplied.
Women’s rights are human rights, and universal in times of war and peace, a senior UN official told the Security Council on Wednesday, urging ambassadors to ensure accountability for conflict-related sexual violence.
Pramila Patten, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative working to end rape as a weapon of war, was addressing a high-level debate on strengthening accountability as a means to deliver justice for survivors and prevent future violence.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has highlighted the need for “adequate safeguards” and vetting measures to be put in place against the possible exploitation of Ukrainian women, under the United Kingdom’s “Homes for Ukraine” scheme.
The UK scheme set up to connect British hosts, with Ukrainian refugees, works by initially connecting the two parties together outside any regulatory framework, via social media groups or other means.
The EMPACT community gathered at Europol to discuss coordinated operational actions for evolving threats linked to the war in Ukraine
Today, Europol hosted an EMPACT meeting to focus on intelligence and operational actions linked to threats of serious and organised crime, which have emerged as a result of the war in Ukraine. This meeting follows the mobilisation of the EMPACT framework by the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission to address these threats. EU Ministers of the Interior endorsed this initiative at the extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council on 28 March 2022, as set out in the 10-Point Plan for stronger European coordination on welcoming people fleeing the war against Ukraine. Immediately afterwards, Europol, together with the French Presidency, started organising today’s meeting at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague to discuss coordinated operational actions.
The illegal marketplace ‘RaidForums’ has been shut down and its infrastructure seized as a result of Operation TOURNIQUET, a complex law enforcement effort coordinated by Europol to support independent investigations of the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Portugal, and Romania. The forum’s administrator and two of his accomplices have also been arrested.
The group advertised its victims on dedicated websites, while managing the accounts in their names
The French Border Police (Police National/Police aux frontiers) and the Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional), supported by Europol, dismantled a criminal network involved in human trafficking for sexual exploitation. The investigation resulted in a simultaneous action day in France and Spain on 8 March 2022.
11 countries target violent acts of hate online and offline
The second EU-wide joint action day against hate crime, supported by Europol’s European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) and led by France, targeted racist and xenophobic hate speech and other hate crimes on the internet and in the real world. The operation took place in 11 countries.
Today Ireland’s national police force, An Garda Síochána, launched the criminal justice initiative ‘cooperating at an international level in protecting communities from organised and serious crime’ at a press conference at City Hall in Dublin, Ireland. At the press conference, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions against the Irish organised crime group known as the Kinahan gang.
This action results from close collaboration between OFAC, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Ireland’s An Garda Síochána and the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency, with the support of Europol, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation. Europol provided operational support and coordination, as part of its mandate to investigate large-scale operations involving several countries.