A huge need has arisen amid the humanitarian efforts on the border of Ukraine and Poland that many people may not be aware of. In February of this year, Russia invaded the nation of Ukraine leaving thousands dead and millions on the run. Over the last few weeks, over three million Ukrainian refugees have been displaced and a staggering 60% of those have fled through the neighboring country of Poland. In contrast with many refugee crises of recent history, these refugees are predominantly women and children. This is because the Ukrainian government has implemented a mandatory draft for all Ukrainian men between the ages of 18 and 60.
This is where the need has been created. As a result of the number of women and children traveling alone as well as the chaos, fear, and desperation of trying to find safe passage out of Ukraine, a spike in human trafficking has been observed. While it is amazing to see the kindness of strangers opening their homes, giving away their belongings, and transporting people cross-country to safer parts of the continent, there is evil and darkness that has mixed their way in as well. People have been caught with women locked in the back of vans and children have disappeared in the sea of people. While there is a huge surge of humanitarian aid to assist these refugees with housing and resources, local law enforcement and border security have been uneducated and unprepared to combat the spikes in trafficking.
Fortunately, the situation is not as bleak as it may originally sound. Several organizations specializing in anti-trafficking measures have stepped up to send teams of volunteers and trained professionals to the border of Ukraine to train law enforcement and set up precautionary measures for the refugees themselves. One such organization is called Unbound Now and is based out of Waco, Texas. For the past decade, Unbound Now has been meeting and working with law enforcement and government officials all over the world to mitigate human trafficking and rescue people who have been exploited and taken advantage of.
When Unbound Now heard about the need for anti-trafficking support in Ukraine, they began to send teams out for several weeks at a time. Those teams have set up stations at major border crossings into Poland and have been handing out resources like food and diapers as well as info cards on traveling safely. They have been connecting people with vetted drivers and working with law enforcement to watch for potential signs of trafficking while acting as visual deterrents to such exploitation by wearing neon vests saying “anti-trafficking” in several languages. As the conflict in Ukraine continues to destroy lives and people continue to cross the border, Unbound Now has continued to send teams of people to the border crossings to serve.
I will be leading a team there in just under two weeks and am excited to get to serve in such a necessary capacity. The four of us will be looking for any area of need that we can fill while listening to the Lord for his direction and prompting. I would love to invite you to be praying for the people of Ukraine as well as for my team as we put boots on the ground to help people exactly where the biggest needs are. In addition, I will be raising financial support over the next few weeks and would greatly appreciate any amount you may be able to contribute to my team! Our prayer is that we may be used by the Lord to meet the physical needs of people we encounter while also combating evil through prayer and looking for opportunities to demonstrate the love of God.
The need is very much real. In 2020 Unbound Now was able to rescue 352 trafficking victims and connect them with rehabilitation options. If you would like to support this work, you can do through the link in my author biography.