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MTV EXIT and IOM produce documentary on human trafficking

( IOM) - IOM and MTV EXIT are releasing a documentary "Trading Lives" targeting Ukrainian youth, children and young people under 25, as they are one of the largest groups exposed to the dangers of modern-day slavery. They make up 42 per cent of all victims of trafficking whom the IOM mission in Ukraine assisted for the last 12 years.

The documentary was aired for the first time nation-wide on 5th Channel on 1 December and will be used for further prevention campaigns throughout Ukraine by IOM and its partners.

"Trading Lives", hosted by popular Ukrainian singer Jamala, gives Ukrainians insight into the dangers of human trafficking through first-hand accounts from victims. It also provides clear actions young people can take to minimize risks when considering work abroad.

The film tells true stories of trafficking survivors assisted by IOM Ukraine as Marina, an interior designer who was promised a job in a sewing factory, but was trafficked to Moscow for sex work; as Oksana, a salesperson burdened by debt who was trafficked into forced labour toiling 18 hours a day; and as Oleg, a young builder trying to save money to buy a car, exploited in construction work in Russia.

"It is scary, but modern slavery exists. We might think that it happens somewhere far away with some people we don't know, but these are real stories from real Ukrainians' life," says Jamala.

The IOM Mission in Ukraine works on human trafficking prevention, protects victims and assists the Government of Ukraine and civil society to strengthen its counter-trafficking responses.

"According to our research, over 120,000 Ukrainians became victims of human trafficking since 1991. We as IOM are proud to have provided almost 10,000 victims of trafficking with a chance to start their lives anew," stated IOM Ukraine's Chief of Mission Manfred Profazi. "But the problem is not decreasing and people continue to suffer. Therefore we appreciate the possibility to work together with MTV EXIT to keep the awareness of young Ukrainians on the dangers of being exploited, while at the same time explaining them their rights as migrants."

MTV EXIT is the world's largest behavior change campaign in the fight against human trafficking and exploitation.  "Our goal is to educate young people about this critical social issue, encourage them to be vigilant when travelling abroad and ensure they know how to take action if they suspect human trafficking," says Matt Love, Director, MTV EXIT.

The documentary "Trading Lives" is part of a series of activities MTV EXIT is holding across Ukraine, including a competition of student-developed technology solutions that could contribute to the fight against human trafficking and a youth forum in Kyiv, empowering young people with the tools and resources they need to hold human trafficking awareness-raising events in their communities.

"Trading Lives" was produced in partnership with USAID, the Ukrainian Ministry of Social Policy and the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs.

For more information, please visit  ua.mtvexit.org/challenge