Dame Sara Thornton welcomes OSCE recommendations to strengthen anti-trafficking measures amid the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine



The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office of the Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings has issued a set of concrete recommendations for countries to prevent trafficking amid the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.


The recommendations include:

  • immediate prevention measures and responses to address the urgent needs of people seeking refuge;
  • legislative and policy measures to prevent and mitigate their vulnerabilities;
  • and integration assistance and support to lessen vulnerability.


Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner Dame Sara Thornton said:

“The numbers of people fleeing Ukraine are unprecedented and Europe is now responding to an escalating refugee crisis. I am gravely concerned about the risks faced by these individuals, most of whom are women and children. I therefore welcome the recommendations made by OSCE, which provide concrete measures for states to prevent human trafficking as the humanitarian situation worsens.

Research on how the war in Syria and refugee crisis affected human trafficking found that people often become victims of trafficking or exploitation when they are unable to meet their basic needs. This is exacerbated by challenges in relation to immigration status and right to work.

We must strengthen prevention measures to ensure these serious risks do not become a reality and I fully support OSCE’s recommendations. In the short-term we must ensure people’s basic needs are met and immediate vulnerabilities are mitigated. But we must also put in place longer-term measures to prevent exploitation.”



Read the full recommendations here.




Notes to editors

  • Part 4 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 created the role of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. The Commissioner has a UK-wide remit to encourage good practice in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of slavery and human trafficking offences and the identification of victims.
  • The Commissioner is given an annual budget with which to appoint staff and carry out her duties. She is accountable through her strategic plan and annual reports, which the Secretary of State lays before Parliament, setting out the extent to which objectives and priorities are achieved. Her Strategic Plan 2019 – 2021 was launched in October 2019 and her Annual Report 2020 – 2021 was launched in September 2020.
  • Dame Sara Thornton was appointed as the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner by the Secretary of State following consultation with the Scottish Ministers and the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland. She took up post at the beginning of May 2019 and her appointment is for three years.

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