Approximately 1.5 million children have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began and are at risk of being trafficked, according to UNICEF, the United Nations children’s agency.
“Countless others” are displaced within the country as the war continues, the agency said in a press release on Saturday.
“The war in Ukraine is leading to mass displacement and refugee flows – conditions that could lead to a significant increase in human trafficking and an acute child protection crisis,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia.
“Displaced children are extremely vulnerable to being separated from their families, exploited and trafficked,” Khan continued. “They need governments in the region to step up and implement measures to keep them safe.”
Between 24 February and 7 March, UNICEF said it had identified more than 500 unaccompanied children crossing the border from Ukraine into Romania.
The overall number of unaccompanied children spreading across neighboring borders is “probably much higher,” the statement added.
To increase protection, the UN and civil society partners have set up information centers in neighboring countries such as Poland, identified as “Blue Points” to provide essential services to families.
Unicef also urges Ukraine’s neighboring governments to increase child protection screenings at borders and in key areas, such as train stations, where refugees pass.
“In addition, UNICEF is calling on governments to improve cross-border collaboration and knowledge exchange between border control, law enforcement and child protection authorities and quickly identify separated children, implement family tracing and reunification procedures for deprived children. of parental care,” according to the release.
See images of the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Source: CNN Brasil