Warnings about risks of human trafficking

If you are a survivor of trafficking, or you suspect that someone else is, you should contact the Estonian police on the emergency phone (dialing 112). Every contact with the police will be treated in strict confidence.

You can also contact Estonian Social Insurance Board’s human trafficking prevention and victim assistance counseling line +372 660 7320 or send e-mail to [email protected]

Many people will want to help you on your journey and after you arrive in Estonia. However, not everyone may be who they say they are; some people may wish to take advantage of your situation.

For example, they may promise you accommodation, transport, or free food and use this to pressure you into sexual acts, work or other services you do not agree with. Or they may want to harm you or take your documents or other belongings.

Please have a look at UNHCR’s information video on “How to stay safe”:

The video is also available in Ukrainian and Russian.

What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking happens when a person is tricked, trapped or coerced into being exploited for another person’s private gain or profit.

It is a crime and can take various forms, such as:

  • sexual exploitation
  • forced labor
  • domestic servitude
  • slavery or similar practices
  • gender-based violence
  • forced begging or criminality.

There are signs you can look for to keep yourself and your family safe. For example, be alert if someone:

  • is asking for your passport or other identification documents (apart from public authorities, for example at border check points);
  • is asking for your phone, laptop or other means of communication;
  • wants to remove you from your family or others you are travelling with;
  • is offering you a job that sounds too good to be true;
  • is pressuring you to perform work, services or sex (including to repay ‘debts’);
  • is offering you assistance – such as food – only if you carry out certain ‘services’;
  • is promising to help you get registered, relocated or resettled to another country against payment (except for regular transportation fees);
  • is hiring you but not paying you, or paying only part of what was promised;
  • is hiring you, but not giving you decent working conditions or limiting your movement, for example by taking your documents or locking the door.

What steps can you take to stay safe?

  • Be alert and follow your own intuition about people you don’t know.
  • Always hold onto your documents. Take copies of them on your phone and send them to someone you trust.
  • Keep in touch with your family and other people you trust.
  • Know your rights and where you can get help.
  • Seek reliable information from trusted sources.

If you are looking for a place to stay:

  • Use organised accommodation by known organisations, if possible.
  • If using an online service provider, make sure to select hosts that have a positive rating and look at the reviews on the page.
  • If you stay with private individuals, try to ask around about the person first. Don’t accept being removed from your family or those you arrived with, and don’t give away your documents. Ask if anything is expected of you in return and always agree on a price beforehand.

If you are looking for transportation:

  • Use organised transportation by known providers, as far as this is possible.
  • Many companies in Europe are now offering free travel for Ukrainians. Visit the EU solidarity with Ukraine website to find out your options. for options.
  • Don’t accept to be removed from your family or those you arrived with, and don’t give away your documents. Always agree on a price beforehand.

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