Ukrainian children are going missing at the borders while escaping the war, the human rights organizations and volunteers reported. According to them, several of these kids are in danger of being kidnapped by criminals who could be waiting to make use of the situation. The aid groups have seen cases of exploitation, extortion, trafficking, and missing children as more than 2.5 million refugees moved into neighboring countries to escape violence.
Several desperate parents are sending their children alone to the borders to meet their friends or relatives. But the kids wander around when they do not find anyone across the border, Karolina WierzbiÅska a coordinator from Homo Faber, a human rights organization based in Lublin, Poland, told The Guardian.
"This is extremely distressing for a child and can lead to them wandering around the station alone, disoriented, and in the worst-case scenario, disappearing altogether. This, unfortunately, is not a hypothetical case â it has happened already", she said.
Human Trafficking and Exploitation
The aid group warned women about volunteers holding cardboard signs at train stations and other cross borders with offerings to drive them to their destinations in Europe.
"We are also already getting reports of cases of human trafficking and women being offered work in Poland only to find the workplace is illegitimate, the employer is mistreating them, refusing to pay their salary on time. There are cases of extortion of personal documents or money", WierzbiÅska shared.
The aid group member then said it is impossible to examine every volunteer at the cross border offering drive to refugees. So, it is important to share the information with women before they cross borders.
"These are people dealing with serious trauma. The amount of conflicting information, decisions to be made â the sheer volume of stimuli can lead to a cognitive overload. The sooner they are made aware of the situation awaiting them in Poland, the more time they have to process it", she added.
The human rights organization has been distributing leaflets among refugees with the help of border guards. It could help the people crossing borders to keep themselves, their loved ones, and their documents safe.
"I would guess that 90% of those men were well-meaning people offering genuine help. Nevertheless, the situation itself was extremely chaotic, potentially frightening for anyone, let alone a person already in distress. We cannot rule out that a fraction of the people in the crowd were simply criminals, waiting to take advantage of vulnerable women", WierzbiÅska said.