IOM Youth Schools Bring Together Displaced Youth and Local Activists to Help Prevent Human Trafficking
Kyiv – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched its annual youth summer school “Together to Success” in Kyiv Region yesterday, 14 June 2023. Twenty-four young people – among them displaced and host community members – from Kyiv and Chernihiv regions took part in the launch along with representatives from IOM and the Government of Ukraine.
“With the war, displacement and deteriorating economic conditions persisting, young people in Ukraine are facing ever more insidious risks than ever, such as exploitation and human trafficking,” said Stephen Rogers, IOM Ukraine’s Deputy Chief, at the opening ceremony in Voropaiv village. He added, “IOM organizes these summer schools where young people can learn, network and raise awareness on safe migration in their communities in the future”.
IOM has been organizing youth schools for more than a decade with an aim of expanding a network of active youth across Ukraine who will promote safe migration and employment among their peers, reducing their vulnerabilities and chances of engaging in risky behaviour. This year, IOM will hold four youth schools in Kyiv, Vinnytsia, Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv regions in June and July that will bring together displaced people across Ukraine and active leaders of host communities from 11 regions. School participants are young people from 18 to 25 years old with active social position and experience in volunteering and participating in social projects or community initiatives. They will also have an opportunity to learn about cultural diversity and tolerance, civic responsibility, leadership and communication.
“Two million young people left Ukraine; more than two million young people became internally displaced. Under today's circumstances, it is very important to develop the resilience of local communities thanks to your experience, which you will enhance at this youth school,” said Andrii Chesnokov, Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports of Ukraine for European Integration.
Risks of human trafficking are on the rise in Ukraine since the onset of the full-scale invasion. According to IOM estimates, every second Ukrainian risks getting exploited or suffer from human trafficking, being willing to accept at least one type of risky job offers abroad or in Ukraine.
After five days of training and networking with IOM team, invited experts, influencers, entrepreneurs and activists, alumni will implement their own social projects to raise awareness on human trafficking in their communities with the financial support and supervision from IOM. For example, graduates of IOM’s previous summer schools conducted awareness-raising sessions with vulnerable population, created thematic murals, organized safe employment quests, photo exhibitions, thematic workshops, film screening, master classes etc.
IOM’s youth schools contribute to the integration of displaced people into host communities. Youth will also improve their psychological well-being by participating in creative master classes, sports activities and receiving individual consultations from the professional psychologist.
“Many young people are shaping their life path right now – they determine what they want to do, where to study and work,” said Uliana Tokareva, Deputy Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine.
“As there are many situations with high risks of human trafficking, the role of active youth who can raise awareness among their peers, support trafficking survivors and promote zero tolerance to exploitation, is very important.”
According to the latest data, 82 per cent of young people in Ukraine have faced losses because of the war, including challenges due to power outages, reduced income, declining mental health and separation with family. Despite all this, 72 per cent of those surveyed are willing to join the recovery efforts in their communities.
The schools are organized with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine.
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