unseen was established in 2008 after a disturbing visit to Ukraine by its founder.Whilst working in an orphanage, the question was asked: 'Where do the children go once they leave here?'. The response was both shocking and heart-breaking. It was discovered that many children, once they reach 16 and are ready to leave the orphanage, become involved in crime, gangs, prostitution or will be trafficked.
Ukraine trafficking statistics (source: 2008)
- 80% of all unemployed people in Ukraine are women.
- Ukraine is a source, transit and destination country for trafficked persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
- Up to half a million Ukrainian women have been trapped and enslaved and trafficked into the West.
- Of Ukrainian women who go abroad for a better chance to work, 80% end up working in the sex industry.
- In 2008, Ukraine was one of the largest exporters of women to the international sex industry.
As more extensive research began we realised this was not a problem unique to Ukraine but that, the world over, countries were sending and receiving trafficked people. Even in the UK, and in our home city, women were and still are being bought, sold and traded to be exploited for sexual services.
We were compelled to act, and unseen was formed.