The risk to refugees

16th May 2023 | Refugees

The Clewer Initiative

The situation facing refugees, asylum seekers and migrants is a matter of huge global concern and the issues are many and complex.

Because refugees are usually extremely vulnerable, they are at risk of being targeted by criminal gangs and drawn into modern slavery and exploitation.

Last summer, the British Red Cross and UNHCR published a joint report At risk: exploitation and the UK highlighting the many reasons why refugees and asylum seekers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation.

It cited, amongst other things,

  • a lack of community support networks
  • the way refugees often end up socially and culturally isolated
  • a lack of basic resources
  • few opportunities to work and support themselves and their families.

These factors leave refugees and people seeking asylum at serious risk of being drawn into exploitation.

The report also shared accounts of victims of modern slavery being placed into hostel-type accommodation in inappropriate locations, getting kidnapped and re-trafficked. It makes sobering reading.

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The issue has become even more pressing since the arrival of 163,500 Ukrainian refugees and 21,000 Afghan refugees in the UK. There is a need for greater awareness of the way criminal gangs target refugees and education about normal employment rights and practices.

It is for this reason that we have created a Ukrainian Refugee Toolkit. It has been designed to help refugees understand how criminal gangs groom, coerce and target refugees and includes practical case studies and advice about how to stay safe and avoid exploitation. The material is in English and Ukrainian and is easy to pick up and use in any setting.

Please share the toolkit with any churches or community organisations that are hosting Ukrainians or organising groups for Ukrainians such as coffee mornings or English conversation cafes. We would also love Ukrainians to circulate it amongst their networks so that everyone is equipped to spot the warning signs of exploitation.

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Ukrainian Refugee Toolkit

A new resource, in English and Ukrainian, to help Ukrainian refugees learn more about modern slavery and the risk of being drawn into exploitation. Available in PDF or PowerPoint.

Download the PDF

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