The implications of the war in Ukraine are manyfold. For people fleeing the country, the risk of becoming victims of human trafficking is unfortunately real, especially women and children are at risk. GDL member Eirliani (Lin) Abdul Rahman spoke up about how to stop human traffickers from exploiting the war in Ukraine in an interview with rbb Radio Berlin Brandenburg. You can read the German interview here, her article in the Diplomatic Courier on the same topic goes into even more detail.
If you are a private citizen intending to help in volunteer efforts and come across a child who is alone, please note the following guidelines, adapted from UNICEF:
- Do not immediately assume that the child is lost. Verify that she is unaccompanied or has been separated from her family. Ask refugees in the immediate vicinity if they know her.
- At any point, never leave the child alone. Do not, under any circumstance, leave the child with another volunteer, whom you do not know.
- After having taken the first step and you are now certain the child is unaccompanied or has been separated from her family, ask the child for her name, age and hometown, and information about her family. If the child is unable to provide this information, ask other refugees in the vicinity what they know.
- Keep the child’s clothes and belongings with her at all times. These might help authorities trace her family.
- Contact a trusted authority such as the local municipality government, border police, Ukraine’s embassy/consulate in the host country, and/or officials from UNICEF. Share the child’s information and location, and follow the authority’s instructions. Do not leave the child.
- Do not share information about the child with anyone else, aside from the authorities.
- Explain to the child what will happen next. Do not promise that you will find her family members. This could cause confusion and distress if you need to hand her over into the hands of a trusted authority or a child protection officer.
Eirliani Abdul Rahman is a co-founder of YAKIN (Youth, Adult Survivors & Kin In Need), an NGO working in the field of child rights and child protection issues, and a member of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council.
In September 2015, the #FullStop to #childsexualabuse campaign that Eirliani led on behalf of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi reached 16 million people over six weeks. She won the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Award the same year.
Eirliani edited Kailash Satyarthi’s book Will for Children, a collection of essays on child labour published in 2016. Her own book Survivors: Breaking the Silence on Child Sexual Abuse, a collection of true accounts by survivors, was published by Marshall Cavendish in 2017. It won joint second prize in the 2020 Golden Door Awards. She also contributed a case study to the medical textbook Essentials of Global Health, co-edited by Babulal Sethia, Honorary Fellow and former President of the Royal Society of Medicine, which was published by Elsevier in London in 2018. The book won first prize in the Public Health category at the 2019 British Medical Association book awards.
Eirliani worked in Singapore’s Foreign Service from 2005 to 2015, serving in Berlin as First Secretary (Political) and then in Delhi as Political Counsellor. From June 2015 to November 2017 she was a member of the Advisory Council of the Global Diplomacy Lab. She is a Fellow of the London-based Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.
Eirliani is pursuing a doctorate in public health at Harvard University. She speaks Malay, English, German and Russian.
Read more about Eirliani in her latest blog article. You can also read her articles about her polar expedition and about human trafficking and learn more about her work, activism and contribution to the Gender Alliance.