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Monday, August 8, 2022 – Ukrainian children and women are being trafficked into the United Arab Emirates as sex slaves and domestic servants, according to a new report by the Washington Institute for Defence and Security.

Millions of Ukrainians have fled their country with about 200,000 children missing or unaccounted for, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Florian Schmitz, one of the report’s authors, called on the West to hold those responsible to account, and pleaded with developed nations not to turn a blind eye.

He said: ‘Given the large-scale movement of vulnerable women and children from Ukraine into Russia since the beginning of the war, sometimes under duress, it seems highly likely that a number of them will end up being trafficked to the UAE and other countries.

“Some women and children may have been trafficked into domestic slavery and even sex slavery in the Middle East and, possibly, in Russia as well,” says international correspondent Adam Gilchrist.

The international community cannot and must not turn a blind eye to this problem and must hold those responsible to account. Yet there is little evidence that vulnerable people are being protected.’

The United Nations reported that more than 1.5 million refugees had crossed from Ukraine into neighbouring countries in the first ten days after the war began.

This latest report, called Modern Slavery In Dubai, says that some victims could be going into sex work and domestic servitude.

It reads: ‘This report aims to shed light on… modern slavery and the abuse of migrant workers, with both a focus on the UAE and the role of Eastern European countries as highly efficient hubs of human trafficking.

‘This is a problem that will have worsened since the start of the war, as large numbers of women and children are forced to flee their homes in pursuit of safety. Traumatised and vulnerable, they will be prime targets for traffickers.

‘This, coupled with the requirement of Russian oligarchs who have decamped to Dubai and Abu Dhabi to escape Western sanctions to have Russian-speaking staff, is likely to be creating the perfect conditions for women and children to be forced into the sex industry or domestic servitude.’

The document also condemns what it calls ‘propaganda’ about the idyllic lifestyle of the rich and powerful in places such as Dubai. Mr Schmitz said: ‘The report’s authors have been extremely disappointed to see a number of programmes concentrating on the cosseted and comfortable lifestyles of the uber-rich who live a carefree existence in places like Dubai, which has been built on the backs of poorly paid, badly treated migrant workers.’

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