Team 2: Update from Ukraine Response

Our second Unbound Now team arrived home yesterday from the Ukrainian/Poland border.  Susan Peters, Unbound’s Global Director, led the team which spent a week talking to hundreds of refugees in Ukraine and collaborating with other NGOs.  Here’s Susan’s update:

The vulnerabilities of migrants to trafficking increases as they cross the border.  

Imagine your country is at war with a powerful neighboring country. Your city has been bombed or is in fear of it.  As a family, you decide that the safest option is to send mom and the children out of Ukraine. Your husband and older sons must stay and fight so the journey will be made on your own.  You may have a 2 day journey or more to get to a border. You cannot take many provisions because your hands are full with your children and luggage.  March is cold and rainy in Ukraine, and this year is no exception.  You get to the border as your limited supplies of food and diapers run out. The line into Poland is hours long. You are cold, tired, your children are hungry and scared; you know even when you get across the border there is no specific destination.  No one is meeting you. You hope there will be supplies and a plan for sheltering you but nothing is guaranteed.  

You are exhausted, heartbroken, and frightened, and you do not speak the language in this new country. You are at the breaking point. 



This is the window of opportunity where traffickers strike — when their potential victim’s needs are at the highest point, and desperation is taking over. Crises bring the best and the worst of humanity to the doorstep. Hundreds of  aid workers diligently serve, and in the same area those seeking to exploit the vulnerabilities of Ukrainian migrants lurk. 

Without trained interventions at the border, any van, car, or bus can drive in offering rides to neighboring cities where safety and shelter are promised.  

These pictures show Unbound staff providing training to law enforcement and going with them to interview a bus driver offering “safe rides” to Ukrainian women.  The driver of this bus was not allowed to proceed thanks to these officers learning the best questions to ask to deter bad actors. This is one bus of MANY, and  without continued training of law enforcement on how to recognize traffickers, and educating migrants on how to travel safely, they may not know the questions to ask to ensure the opportunities being offered are legitimate. 



These are the moments in the migration journey where supplies, education, and intervention are crucial.  From years of experience, we know traffickers come out in unprecedented numbers  to prey on those fleeing conflict;  promising safe migration routes, employment and education or skills training.  

This is where Unbound is filling the gap.

In our first two weeks at the border, we’ve worked with partner NGO’s to pass out 11,250 cards in Ukrainian on how to travel safely and avoid traffickers. We’ve also shared a QR code to give people easy access on to this information on their devices.
We set up a supply station on the Ukrainian side of the border to replenish diapers, formula, and other essentials many fleeing mothers needed.



Our primary work is focused on educating the Ukrainian migrants to keep themselves safe from trafficking.  

Unbound Team 3 will be heading over shortly to continue  our work. Thank you for your partnership. Together we are bringing hope and increasing safety for as many as we can. But, just like you, we want to do more. 

Our hope is to continue to send teams to work at the border to provide education and be a deterrent with our presence. Our teams wear bright colored vests that say “against human trafficking” in Ukrainian and Polish. We will meet practical needs like chapstick, protein bars, candy, a baby changing station and juice at the border. We will pray and walk in the compassion of Jesus as we serve. 

This part of the world already has huge issues with human trafficking, now with the enormous influx of women and children, the problem is even bigger. 

Please pray with us as we discern how best to continue to serve in this region. 

 If you’d like to give toward our Ukraine response, you can do so here.

With hope,




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