The founder of the La Strada Foundation, Irena Dawid-Olczyk, was named one of the heroes on Tuesday in the US State Department’s annual report on the fight against human trafficking. This is one of the effects of La Strada’s involvement in helping Ukrainian refugees.
As minister Kari Johnstone said, Dawid-Olczyk was awarded “in recognition of her extraordinary leadership in direct assistance to victims of human trafficking”, as well as “maintaining a strong relationship with the Polish government to prevent the exploitation of refugees crossing the Polish-Ukrainian border.”
Dawid-Olczyk is a co-founder and board member of La Strada – the Foundation Against Human Trafficking and Slavery. It is an organization that has been operating since 1995, and since 2009 it has been running, inter alia, The National Intervention and Consultation Center for victims of trafficking in human beings (KCIK) established by the Ministry of the Interior, dealing with comprehensive assistance for victims, including by providing them with shelter.
La Strada is also committed to helping refugees from Ukraineby conducting an information campaign among them on the dangers related to trafficking in human beings and by running a special hotline.
In addition to Dawid-Olczyk and four other activists, the State Department also honored Kateryna Czerepacha, the president of the Ukrainian La Strada.
As emphasized by the US Secretary of State Antony BlinkenRussia’s aggression against Ukraine has created a great humanitarian crisis that has significantly increased the risk of human trafficking, especially for refugees, both internal and external.
11 countries are actively involved in trafficking in human beings
The Department of State report mentions too Russia as one of the 11 countries recognized as actively participating in trafficking in human beings. The document drew the attention of, inter alia, for the forced displacement of Ukrainians who are sent to “filter camps” and then deported to distant regions of Russia.
Other issues mentioned are reports of civilians being forced to work digging graves and clearing debris in Donbas, as well as about forced conscription to the army in the so-called people’s republics in the Donbass, including forcing children to serve.
The report also mentions Russian participation in the use of forced laborers by North Korea, whose remuneration for work, among others, by in Russia, it contributes to the regime’s budget.
Other countries listed as accomplices of trafficking in human beings are: AfghanistanBurma, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, South Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan and Yemen.
Main photo source: US State Department