A COALITION OF ANTI-SLAVERY AND HUMAN RIGHTS groups has launched a new website for Ukrainian refugees in the UK, aimed at keeping them safe from trafficking and helping them adjust to their new home.

The Ukrainians Welcome website is a ‘one-stop shop’ of useful information and links to other websites and helplines – anything from where to get basic travel and housing advice to opening a bank account and understanding your rights as a worker. It is available in the Ukrainian, English and Russian languages, and includes links to the Government’s information for displaced Ukrainians.

Andrew Wallis, CEO of anti-slavery charity Unseen, one of the groups behind the initiative, says: “There are millions of Ukrainian people on the move, many of them with no support network, who are vulnerable to all sorts of exploitation.

“The more information we can give them on how to stay safe in the UK and where to go for support for an entire range of issues, the better. It will stop exploitation.

“It’s vitally important we get this information out there quickly as the situation gets more urgent by the day,” says Wallis. “We are already receiving calls from Ukrainian refugees to our Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline. And we are also getting worrying signals from other organisations in Europe regarding the trafficking of displaced Ukrainian people.

“We are urging the main UK mobile network providers to work with us on promoting the website to Ukrainian refugees as they arrive in the UK. A straightforward way to do this is for the website to be part of the standard welcome text that any traveller receives when arriving in this country.

“Already any foreigner registered phone arriving in the UK will get a welcome text from their UK provider detailing charges. What can be so difficult about changing that text for anyone arriving with a phone that is on a Ukrainian network?”

Unseen provides safe houses and support in the community for survivors of trafficking and modern slavery. It also operates the Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline, a confidential and independent service, providing information, advice and guidance to potential victims, businesses, statutory agencies such as the NHS and police, and the public about any modern slavery issue.  The Helpline is free to use, can take calls in more than 200 languages, and operates 24/7, 365 days a year. Call 08000 121700 or make contact via the Unseen website.

Anti-slavery charities involved in the Ukrainians Welcome website are; Unseen, Freedom Fund, STOP THE TRAFFIK, Hope for Justice, Justice and Care, Work Rights Centre, Anti-Slavery International, Sophie Hayes Foundation, Medaille Trust, Vita,  City Hearts, Human Trafficking Foundation, and Ethical Trading Initiative.

* Visit the Ukrainians Welcome website here.

.* Source: Unseen