The University of Birmingham’s Jenny Phillimore responds to the BBC report on how the Homes for Ukrainian refugees is a potential danger for vulnerable women.
Professor Jenny Phillimore, Lead Researcher of the Sexual and gender based violence in the refugee crisis: from displacement to arrival (SEREDA) of the University of Birmingham says:
“The SEREDA project shows that forced migrant women who are dependent on men, for whatever reason, but in case of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, a roof over their head, are vulnerable to exploitation. Exploitation risks include being coerced into sexual activity or into modern slavery type scenarios where individuals are expected to work in recompense for their housing. Children too are at risk. Safeguarding measures alone are not adequate. The Government urgently needs to establish a mechanism that will enable the emergency rehousing of refugees who are subject to or fear the threat of exploitation or relationship breakdown and a helpline run by Ukrainian speakers directly refugees to safety. They must ensure that these services are adequately funded. Refugees, when applying for a visa should be told, in Ukrainian, about risk factors, what to look out for, and what to do if they experience or are fearful of exploitation. Until these measures are introduced then the scheme will indeed, as reported in the BBC report, represent a danger to refugees.”