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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure EU-2022-20/2922 – measures in European Union

To protect Ukrainian refugees from human trafficking

Country European Union , applies eu-wide (or beyond)
Time period Open ended, started on 11 May 2022
Context War in Ukraine
Type Non-binding recommendations or other texts
Category Measures to prevent social hardship
– Protection of vulnerable groups (beyond employment support)
Author Barbara Surdykowska and Eurofound
Measure added 17 September 2022 (updated 28 September 2022)

Background information

The vast majority of war refugees fleeing to the EU from Ukraine are women and children. Organized crime groups try to take advantage of this situation, creating a high risk of human trafficking. Therefore, it was necessary to comprehensively and quickly deal with the issue of safety and security for people coming to the EU from this direction.

On 11 May 2022, the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator published the EU's anti-trafficking plan to address the risks of trafficking in human beings and support potential victims among those fleeing the war in Ukraine. It was developed jointly with various EU agencies and EU Member States and builds on the EU Strategy to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings presented by the Commission on 14 April 2021.

Content of measure

The Anti-Trafficking Plan sets five goals related to raising awareness, preventing and strengthening law enforcement and judicial response, as well as improving the early identification, support and protection of potential victims of trafficking in human beings from Ukraine in EU countries, but also in Ukraine and Moldova. They are as follows.

  • Strengthening awareness raising on the risks of trafficking in human beings and setting up helplines which includes launching a dedicated website in several languages (English, Ukrainian and Russian) by the Commission and setting-up or improving the functioning of existing 24/7 helplines so that potential victims of trafficking can be referred to appropriate services.
  • Reinforcing prevention against human trafficking, including work with telecom operators to send text messages to people fleeing Ukraine as soon as they arrive on the territory of a Member State to draw their attention to the risk of trafficking.
  • Enhancing the law enforcement and judicial response to human trafficking.
  • Improving the early identification, support and protection of victims of trafficking in human beings.
  • Addressing the risks of trafficking in human beings in non-EU countries, especially Ukraine and Moldova.

The EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator will implement the plan in cooperation with national rapporteurs and equivalent mechanisms from EU countries, EU agencies and civil society, in particular with the EU Civil Society Platform against Trafficking in Human Beings.

Use of measure


Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Does not apply to businesses Migrants or refugees

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Other social actors (e.g. NGOs)
EU (Council, EC, EP)
European Funds
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: N/A


There was no direct involvement of social partners.

Views and reactions

European social partners did not express an opinion on this particular plan, however previously unambiguously endorsed the strategy to combat trafficking in human beings announced by the Commission in April 2021.


  • 11 May 2022: A Common Anti-Trafficking Plan to address the risks of trafficking in human beings and support potential victims among those fleeing the war in Ukraine (


Eurofound (2022), To protect Ukrainian refugees from human trafficking, measure EU-2022-20/2922 (measures in European Union), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.