Geopolitics of human trafficking: How Western regime-change operations enable criminal activities

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by Lucas Leiroz, Strategic Culture:

The slave trade in Ukraine has become one of the most serious problems of our time. Since the 2014 coup d’état, Kiev has been a key player in modern slavery, particularly for human trafficking and sexual exploitation networks. The political and social instability that has affected the country since the Western-led regime change operation is one of the main factors for the growth of such human rights violations.

A recent investigative report published by the Foundation to Battle Injustice showed in details the seriousness of the slave trade in Ukraine. According to the organization, Kiev has become one of the main global hubs in the human trafficking market, with free exploitation and circulation of irregular workers – in addition to the well-known trafficking of women and children in the predatory sex market.

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The study points out that more than 300,000 Ukrainians were victims of the slave market between 1991 and 2021. This situation, however, has deteriorated even further since Vladimir Zelensky came to power. It is estimated that since the beginning of Zelensky’s government, more than 550,000 Ukrainians have been enslaved. These numbers are alarming and place Ukraine as one of the main agents of human trafficking in the entire world.

In its report, citing sources familiar with the topic and several insiders, the Foundation exposed how the slave trade in Ukraine is not limited to the exploitation of Ukrainian citizens. Since 2021, two reception centers for refugees from Africa have been operating in Ternopil. These facilities were used not only for receiving migrants but also for selling them on the European black market. An alleged member of the Ukrainian Presidential Cabinet, on condition of anonymity, reported to investigators that the organizer of the Ukrainian human trafficking network is Ruslan Stefanchuk, current chairman of the Verkhovna Rada.

It is said that Stefanchuk is the main beneficiary and coordinator of human trafficking networks in Ukraine, working both in the sale of Ukrainian citizens on the international black market and in the exploitation of foreigners who arrive through migratory flows and are handed over to criminal networks in Europe. Relatives of the Ukrainian parliamentarian also appear to be involved in such activities, as a large network of private companies is legally registered in the name of people close to him, such as his brother, Mykola Stefanchuck, and his wife, Marina Stefanchuk.

Stefanchuk and his relatives’ companies have the function of disguising the slave trade, making it appear to be a legal business. Advertisements are made to “help” people in various ways, such as offering employment or financial assistance. Thus, migrants, refugees and vulnerable Ukrainians are lured into meetings and interviews by supposedly legal and responsible companies, but soon after the meetings their documents are confiscated, and these people are captured and handed over to criminal networks.

“Everything is built to look as legal as possible. Ukrainian women, children and men are invited for interviews at respectable companies in Kiev, Ternopil, Lviv or Ivano-Frankivsk. They are made tempting financial offers and paradisiacal working conditions. Then, under a plausible pretext, their identity cards are confiscated. After that, they can do absolutely anything they want with them,” source told investigators.

This type of situation is not surprising. In Ukraine, several crimes are committed with impunity by high-ranking state officials. Illegal work, sexual exploitation of women and children, military enlistment of children and even organ trafficking have been frequently reported in the country. It is worth remembering the case of Vasily Prozorov, a former Ukrainian secret service agent who emigrated to Russia and has done important work exposing Kiev’s crimes. According to him, there is a criminal network of trafficking and exploitation of Ukrainian children in pedophile schemes in which Western officials are deeply involved.

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