Ukrainian refugees – women and children – are being sold in the UAE as sex slaves and domestic workers, US defense experts warn in a report.
Millions of Ukrainians have fled conflict in their homelands, raising fears that refugees could become victims of human trafficking. Defense experts warn that vulnerable Ukrainian women and children are likely to be sold into sex slavery and domestic work in the United Arab Emirates, according to the British Daily Mail.
Earlier, Ukrainian Presi-dent Zelensky said that about 200,000 Ukrainian children have gone missing since the start of the conflict. Now, a new report fr-om the Washington Instit-ute for Defense and Secu-rity and the New York For-eign Policy Center claims that some of these “lost” women and children may be trafficked to the UAE.
Although the problem of human trafficking in the UAE is not new in itself, the report of American experts says that it will be exacerbated due to the exodus of refugees from Ukraine.
Florian Schmitz, one of the authors of the report, urged the West to bring those responsible to justice and called on developed countries not to turn a blind eye. In his opinion, given the large-scale displacement of vulnerable women and children from Ukraine, “it seems highly likely that some of them will end up being trafficked to the UAE and other countries.”
The United Nations has reported that more than 1.5 million refugees have moved from Ukraine to neighboring countries in just the first ten days after the conflict began.
Charities were quick to warn that sex traffickers were targeting Ukrainian women and children stranded in Polish refugee camps. Earlier this year, an investigation by the Mail on Sunday found the problem was so serious that a group of British Army veterans were working on the Polish border to protect those at risk of being coerced.
The latest report, titled “Modern Slavery in Du-bai,” says some victims ma-y be involved in sex work and work as domestic workers. The report said: “This report aims to shed light on … contemporary slavery and the mistreatment of migrant workers, with a particular focus on the UAE and the role of Eastern European countries as high-performing hubs for human trafficking.”
The document also denounces the so-called “propaganda” of the idyllic lifestyle of the rich and powerful in places like Dubai.
Florian Schmitz stated: “The report’s authors were extremely disappointed to see a number of programs focusing on the pampered and comfortable lifestyle of the super-rich who live carefree in places like Dubai that have been built on the backs of poorly paid and mistreated migrant workers.”