Encourages Ukrainian Communities Worldwide to Support the July 30 Inaugural Launch as The United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Persons Award Given to Canadian Author and Journalist Victor Malarek in Recognition of his Anti-Trafficking Efforts
The Blue Heart has become the international emblem of the fight against human trafficking. The World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations is proud to have been a partner in the Blue Heart campaign since the initiative’s inception in 2008.
In an effort to increase the awareness around the issue of human trafficking, the United Nations has chosen July 30, 2014, as first World Day against Trafficking in Persons, promoting the message of the Blue Heart campaign internationally, aimed at stopping the plight of the millions of women, men and children victims, as well as at encouraging people to take action to prevent this crime. (More information available at www.endht.org).
Immediately after the launching of the Blue Heart campaign on 5 March 2008 by The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa at the Women’s World Awards in Vienna, the WFUWO’s Anti-Trafficking Committee, then chaired by our current president, Orysia Sushko, worked with the UNODC to promote the Blue Heart campaign in the Ukrainophone diaspora, as well as in Ukraine. The WFUWO’s committee translated the Blue Heart materials into Ukrainian, materials only available at that time in the official languages of the UN. The WFUWO sponsored several workshops and campaign launches in Ukraine, including in the city of Lviv (2009; 2012) and in the Ukrainian communities of North America.
In promoting the Blue Heart campaign, the WFUWO joined forces with Canada’s pro-active MP Joy Smith, working closely with the Canadian government on the Anti-Trafficking effort, and with the award-winning author of the non-fiction publications “The Natashas” and “The Johns” Victor Malarek and Rachel Durchstag, CEO of Chicago Alliance against Sexual Exploitation.
On July 18, 2014, on behalf of MP Joy Smith, WFUWO President Orysia Sushko had the honour and pleasure of presenting Victor Malarek with an award from the Joy Smith Foundation, recognizing his outstanding contribution to raising the awareness of the heinous crime of human trafficking. MP Joy Smith committed herself to the fight against human trafficking, working to raise awareness and rescue victims. In order to assist her in this effort, she established the Joy Smith Foundation to raise awareness and provide tangible support to organizations dedicated to ending human trafficking. Malarek is completing a book that will feature the intersection the issues of trafficking and orphans. WFUWO is pleased to provide financial support for this publication, scheduled to be released this fall.
Human trafficking is a global problem and one of the world’s most shameful crimes, affecting the lives of millions of people around the world and robbing people of dignity. Traffickers deceive women, men and children from all corners of the world and force them into exploitative situations every day. While the best-known form of human trafficking is for the purpose of sexual exploitation, many victims are trafficked and exploited for labor.
In Ukraine, the problem remains particularly acute. Despite significant efforts on the part of the Ukrainian government to eliminate human trafficking, Ukraine does not yet fully correspond to even minimum world standards in this field, according to a 2013 report produced by the research institute CARIM-East and financed by the European Union. The report further states “the problem of human-trafficking is very pressing for Ukraine. Despite certain successes achieved by the government, the risk of falling into the hands of human traffickers remains the most dangerous risk associated with outward labor migration.”