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Ukrainian refugees in the UK have made calls to a slavery and exploitation helpline

Refugees with children wait for a transport after fleeing the war from neighbouring Ukraine at a railway station in Przemysl, Poland, in March. Picture by Sergei Grits, AP

UKRAINIAN refugees in the UK have made calls to a slavery and exploitation helpline, an anti-trafficking charity has said.

Unseen said millions of Ukrainians need support to keep them safe from trafficking.

The charity, along with a coalition of anti-slavery and human rights groups, has launched a new website www.ukrainianswelcome.org which is available in Ukrainian, English and Russian.

The website aims to provide a one-stop shop of useful websites, helplines, and information including where to get basic travel and housing advice to opening a bank account and understanding your rights as a worker in the UK.

Unseen chief executive Andrew Wallis said: "It's vitally important we get this information out there quickly as the situation gets more urgent by the day.

"We are already receiving calls from Ukrainian refugees to our Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline.

"And we are also getting worrying signals from other organisations in Europe regarding the trafficking of displaced Ukrainian people."

Mr Wallis said many Ukrainians have no support network and are vulnerable to exploitation.

"The more information we can give them on how to stay safe in the UK and where to go for support for an entire range of issues, the better," he said.

"It will stop exploitation."

Mr Wallis urged the main mobile network providers to promote the website to Ukrainian refugees as they arrive in the UK.

"A straightforward way to do this is for the website to be part of the standard welcome text that any traveller receives when arriving in this country," he said.

"Already any foreign registered phone arriving in the UK will get a welcome text from their UK provider detailing charges.

"What can be so difficult about changing that text for anyone arriving with a phone that is on a Ukrainian network?"

The Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline is available on 08000 121700

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