With the arrival of the first fugitives from Ukraine, national and international warnings about human trafficking have been issued. While it is too early to draw conclusions about human trafficking of people from Ukraine, they remind us that the issue persisted in Luxembourg even before. The victims are not always found where one would expect to find them.
The images of fleeing people forced from their homes by Putin's war of aggression triggered a wave of solidarity in Europe. It did not take long, however, for the first reports to emerge of men allegedly lying in wait at railway stations for women and children travelling alone, who make up about 90 per cent of those fleeing. "The promise of shelter, work and, above all, safety are hard to ignore and exploitable for that very reason", says Fabienne Rossler of the Consultative Human Rights Commission (CCDH), Luxembourg's rapporteur on human trafficking. "These people are hugely vulnerable and have been through trauma, so the risk is huge that they can fall into the hands of such people."
According to Rossler, no such cases have been reported from Luxembourg so far. But that doesn't mean human trafficking wasn't a largely invisible problem in Luxembourg before: according to the CCDH's latest report, the number of cases of human trafficking or exploitation in the Grand Duchy was on the rise — and that was even before vulnerable people arrived from Ukraine: 23 confirmed or suspected victims were identified in 2019 and 2020, according to the report. Infotraite, a contact point for victims of exploitation, currently has around 35 active dossiers, cases of the people who have managed to break out of their exploitative situation. According to Fabienne Rossler, some of the rising numbers can be explained by increased efforts to disclose human trafficking, but the "numbers speak for themselves" and the number of unreported cases is probably much higher.
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