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21 Sep 2015

Trafficked at Sea: The Exploitation of Ukrainian Seafarers and Fishers 2012

This NEXUS Institute-authored study explores the issue of trafficking at sea through the experiences of 46 Ukrainian seafarers and fishers trafficked to Russia, Turkey and South Korea, on vessels under flags from Panama and Russia. Through a discussion and exploration of their specific trafficking experiences and post-trafficking lives, the paper considers ways that anti-trafficking policies and programmes can increasingly take into account the experiences and needs of trafficked seafarers and fishers. The paper also highlights particularities in the cases of these 46 men. While trafficking at sea has been reported in different regions, there are some aspects of the Ukrainian experiences and context that are unique and signal different sites of vulnerability and experiences and, by implication, different intervention needs and opportunities. Efforts to address trafficking in the seafaring and fishing sectors need to pay careful attention and seek to respond to this complexity and diversity.

This research study is part of the IOM and NEXUS Institute Human Trafficking Research Series which aims to augment and enhance the current knowledge base on human trafficking by drawing on IOM’s database as a source of data in researching trafficking in different settings. This publication was made possible through support provided by the United States Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP) under the terms of Grant No. S-SGTIP-09-GR-0070.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of State.

  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgements
  • Table of contents
  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary
    • 1. Introduction
    • 2. Research methodology and data collection
    • 3. Research on trafficking to sea: knowns and unknowns
    • 4. Backgrounds of trafficked seafarers from Ukraine
    • 5. Looking for work. Patterns of recruitment
    • 6. Going to sea. Transportation and embarkation
    • 7. Life and work at sea. Experiences of exploitation and abuse
    • 8. Lost at sea? Opportunities for identification and escape
    • 9. Being assisted (and going unassisted)
    • 10. Conclusion and recommendations
    • 11. Bibliography