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Ukrainian women and CHILDREN are being trafficked into the UAE as sex slaves, warn defence experts
- Millions of Ukrainians have fled the war-torn country since Russia invaded
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fears 200k children have gone missing
- American agencies revealed ‘lost’ women and children may be being trafficked
Vulnerable Ukrainian women and children are likely being trafficked into sex slavery and domestic servitude in the United Arab Emirates, defence experts have warned.
Millions of Ukrainians have fled the war-torn country since Russia began its brutal advance in February, leading to increased concerns about refugees being susceptible to trafficking.
Some are reported to have been targeted at Polish refugee camps, but experts believe a large proportion who have been forcibly removed to Russia are also being approached.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fears that some 200,000 children have gone missing since the invasion five months ago.
Local residents rush to board an evacuation train driving to the west of Ukraine on February 26
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (pictured) fears that some 200,000 children have gone missing since the invasion five months ago
Now a new report from the Washington Institute For Defence And Security and the New York Center For Foreign Policy Affairs has revealed that some of those ‘lost’ women and children may be being trafficked to the UAE.
Researchers have said that many Russian oligarchs have sought refuge in the Gulf state to avoid international sanctions and are in need of Russian-speaking staff.
Although the issue of trafficking to the UAE is not in itself new, the report says it is set to be turbocharged due to the exodus of refugees from Ukraine.
Last night Florian Schmitz, one of the report’s authors, called on the West to hold those responsible to account, and pleaded with developed nations not to turn a blind eye.
He said: ‘Given the large-scale movement of vulnerable women and children from Ukraine into Russia since the beginning of the war, sometimes under duress, it seems highly likely that a number of them will end up being trafficked to the UAE and other countries.
‘The international community cannot and must not turn a blind eye to this problem and must hold those responsible to account. Yet there is little evidence that vulnerable people are being protected.’
The United Nations reported that more than 1.5 million refugees had crossed from Ukraine into neighbouring countries in the first ten days after the war began.
Charities were quick to warn that sex traffickers were targeting Ukrainian women and children who had fled Vladimir Putin’s bombs at Polish refugee camps. Earlier this year, a Mail on Sunday investigation exposed how the issue was so bad that a group of British Army veterans were working on the Polish border to protect those at risk of coercion.
This latest report, called Modern Slavery In Dubai, says that some victims could be going into sex work and domestic servitude.
People wait for a train to Poland at the railway station of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on February 26
It reads: ‘This report aims to shed light on… modern slavery and the abuse of migrant workers, with both a focus on the UAE and the role of Eastern European countries as highly efficient hubs of human trafficking.
‘This is a problem that will have worsened since the start of the war, as large numbers of women and children are forced to flee their homes in pursuit of safety. Traumatised and vulnerable, they will be prime targets for traffickers.
‘This, coupled with the requirement of Russian oligarchs who have decamped to Dubai and Abu Dhabi to escape Western sanctions to have Russian-speaking staff, is likely to be creating the perfect conditions for women and children to be forced into the sex industry or domestic servitude.’
The document also condemns what it calls ‘propaganda’ about the idyllic lifestyle of the rich and powerful in places such as Dubai.
Mr Schmitz said: ‘The report’s authors have been extremely disappointed to see a number of programmes concentrating on the cosseted and comfortable lifestyles of the uber-rich who live a carefree existence in places like Dubai, which has been built on the backs of poorly paid, badly treated migrant workers.’