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Ukraine Crisis Response: One year on

As of 14 February, 2023, about 18.6 million Ukrainian refugees have fled their country due to the Russian invasion. This has led to significant refugee flows into Romania, estimated at more than 2.8 million Ukrainians crossing the border, with no end to the war in sight. These are predominately women and children, who are particularly vulnerable to labour and sex trafficking.

Since day one of the crisis, the IJM Ukrainian Refugee Crisis Response Team has been providing humanitarian help, legal support and coordination of refugees in a new country. IJM continues to work directly with Ukrainian refugees, partner organizations and government actors to ensure protection against vulnerabilities for Ukrainian refugees. IJM does this by measures such as securing temporary protection, safe transit and housing support to minimize the risk refugees have to human trafficking.

Watch the video below to learn more about IJM’s responses:

Ukraine one year on video

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IJM’s Distinctive Response to the Refugee Crisis

IJM collects and combines experiences from working with Ukrainian refugees and with victims of trafficking in cross-border cases from Romania. Based on this collaborative casework approach, IJM shares best practices with partners on trauma-informed responses specifically for refugees and trafficking victims.

Additionally, IJM has launched innovative digital campaign in collaboration with TikTok and Facebook to help protect refugees from trafficking risks. This is important as traffickers are using social media platforms to prey on refugees’ vulnerability.

IJM has hired multiple refugees and others with experience supporting refugees since the first week of the war. IJM has hired Protection Officers who speak Ukrainian, Russian and Romanian with lived experiences to lead our response to the crisis.

In summary, IJM has developed a comprehensive and unique response to the Ukrainian Refugee Crisis that consists of three critical pillars of support: prevention, protection and prosecution.

PREVENTION: Targeted and Strategic Reach

  • Deliver trainings to/with government, church and NGO partners that include interactive simulations and practical exercises of real-life scenarios including victim interviews.
  • Work with trafficking survivors, social media consultants and investigative specialists to design awareness campaign; recent TikTok campaign reached 2.5+ million unique viewers.


  • Arrange events to give vital information to refugees on the importance of registering for the EU Temporary Protection Order which permits them to work, get medical assistance and for children to attend schools.
  • Provide legal guidance to refugees in visa approval, accommodation rental and jobseeking processes on a case-by-case basis with translation support when necessary.

PROSECUTION: Investigation and Reporting

  • Provide weekly trainings to help Protection Officers better understand how trafficking groups use social media to identify, recruit and exploit victims.
  • Partner with police to diffuse potentially developing and dangerous situations for refugees during recruitment and advise NGO partners on suspected cases of trafficking.

One of the most precious moments are those that I spent volunteering for evacuated Ukrainian kids at the Community Center…It is amazing to see them learning fast and how happy they are despite the reality in our country…a lot of people are doing their best to help them integrate into [Romanian] society smoothly.
– Karolina, IJM Romania Staff

The need for greater protection is urgent. Act now.

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Note: All the above crisis response is being delivered by IJM’s European Anti-Trafficking Programme which has been working on cross-border trafficking in Romania and Eastern Europe since 2020. In the event that we raise more funding than is needed, your generous gift will be used to prevent trafficking and violence in Eastern Europe and around the world.

Help us provide urgently needed assistance and protection to refugees