Mobile Operators and IOM Launch 527 Counter-trafficking Toll-Free Hotline in Ukraine April 25, 2007 - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mission in Ukraine, a UN country team agency, and “Astelit” (life:) trademark), KyivStar GSM, and UMC, the three leading mobile operators in Ukraine has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish cooperation on preventing trafficking in human beings.

Mobile Operators and IOM Launch 527 Counter-trafficking Toll-Free Hotline in Ukraine April 25, 2007 - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mission in Ukraine, a UN country team agency, and “Astelit” (life:) trademark), KyivStar GSM, and UMC, the three leading mobile operators in Ukraine has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish cooperation on preventing trafficking in human beings.

Mobile Operators and IOM Launch 527 Counter-trafficking Toll-Free Hotline in Ukraine

April 25, 2007 - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mission in Ukraine, a UN country team agency ,and “Astelit” (life:) trademark), KyivStar GSM, and UMC, the three leading mobile operators in Ukraine has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish cooperation on preventing trafficking in human beings.

For the first time in Ukraine, the mobile operators are joining forces with IOM to counter trafficking in human beings and raise awareness on protecting Ukrainians’ rights when working abroad. As a first step, the parties have initiated a toll-free counter-trafficking 527 short number, which is functioning with a non-commercial aim where all callers receive accurate information about the current realities and possible dangers that migrants could face outside of Ukraine.

Trafficking in human beings has taken on serious proportions in recent years and has become a modern migration and human rights challenge demanding a strong, comprehensive and coherent response from governments, private sector, civil society and the international community at large. An estimated 100,000 Ukrainians have been sold into slavery since 1991.

” Well-known and respected mobile phone companies are now coming together, demonstrating social responsibility and partnership, thus setting an example for the business community at large. Foreign and Ukrainian business companies could help stop trafficking in human beings by raising awareness, public outreach and national ownership and support of the Ukrainian counter-trafficking response. We applaud these efforts” says Mr. Jeffrey Labovitz, Coordinator for Ukraine Moldova and Belarus, an IOM Chief of Mission in Ukraine.

"This is a very important initiative for Ukraine. By signing this agreement today, the corporate social responsibility is not anymore a nice term referred by companies but it is taking real actions", stated Ms. Ruken Tekes-Calikusu, UN Coordination Specialist. "Also as a unique cooperation between three GSM operator competitors to overcome an important social and developmental challenge, this initiative deserves international recognition", she continued.

“As a company we implement a number of social projects aimed at supporting the most vulnerable categories of the Ukrainian citizens. We understand perfectly well the importance and urgency of human trafficking issue in the modern society. Thus, we are happy to support such a noble initiative and provide toll-free number that as we hope will contribute into countering trafficking”, - stated Oksana Rudiuk, Head of External Relations, life:).

«The freedom of a person is one of the most important values. The task of every socially responsible business in Ukraine is to contribute to the protection and strengthening of such values in our society” remarked, Zhanna Revnova, the Head of Corporate Affairs Department of “Kyivstar”, a leading mobile phone operator in Ukraine.

“UMC serves to about every second Ukrainian and hopes to raise awareness of this global problem among UMC mobile community . So that people know how to protect themselves, their friends and families. As a socially responsible company, we have committed ourselves to help combat and prevent human trafficking”, - comments Viktoriya Ruban, a head of UMC PR-department.

For the last five years, only IOM in Ukraine has provided assistance to more than 3500 victims of trafficking (VoTs) including medical care, psychological counselling, reintegration grants, vocational training, legal assistance with civil issues, legal consultation and representation for victims serving as witnesses in criminal cases, etc.

To receive more detailed information about the initiative please contact IOM Kyiv Public Information Office at 380 44-568 50 15 or pr@iom.kiev.ua