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UK must stop single men matching with lone refugee women under Ukraine scheme, says UN

The UK authorities must do extra to stop Ukrainian women and youngsters fleeing battle from being matched with single British men under the sponsorship scheme or threat inserting refugees at risk, the UN has mentioned.

Following studies that refugee women have been focused on social media by predatory men providing them rooms of their properties, the UN’s refugee company (UNHCR) has known as on Britain to introduce a “more appropriate matching process” for the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

The visa route, which was launched on 18 March, permits Ukrainians with no household hyperlinks to return to Britain and be hosted by members of the general public, who’re paid £350 per thirty days for doing so. More than 200,000 folks have registered their curiosity in internet hosting.

Refugees must discover their very own hosts under the scheme, which Levelling Up Michael Gove mentioned final month he hoped they might be capable to do utilizing social media.

Swathes of Facebook pages have been subsequently arrange designed to “match” refugees with hosts, the place Ukrainian women began to “advertise” themselves in pursuit of discovering a house.

Leading charities warned that this threw up “a lot of issues” and described the method as “a Tinder for people traffickers”.

The Sunday Times reported this week {that a} journalist posing as a 22-year-old Ukrainian lady from Kyiv was inundated with inappropriate messages inside minutes of posting a message on the biggest Facebook group for UK hosts.

The Independent is elevating money for the folks of Ukraine – if you want to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe web page.

A UNHCR spokesperson mentioned the organisation had been made conscious of accelerating studies of Ukrainian women feeling in danger from their sponsors, and known as for “adequate safeguards and vetting measures to be in place against exploitation”.

“UNHCR believes that a more appropriate matching process could be put in place by ensuring that women and women with children are matched with families or couples, rather than with single men,” they added.

“Matching done without the appropriate oversight may lead to increasing the risks women may face, in addition to the trauma of displacement, family separation and violence already experienced.”

The spokesperson mentioned it was additionally involved concerning the “repercussions” ought to the unique UK host show a possible risk to the security of the refugee.

And it known as for “appropriate training and information” to make sure that hosts make an “informed decision” when making use of to change into sponsors, including that housing a stranger in an additional bed room for an prolonged interval was “not for some people sustainable”.

The Independent revealed final week that lone youngsters fleeing Ukraine had been housed with unrelated UK adults with out correct checks going down, regardless of authorities claims that unaccompanied youngsters should not eligible for the scheme.

The UK’s unbiased anti-slavery commissioner Dame Sara Thornton has expressed concern concerning the dangers, telling The Independent: “Predators and traffickers see the war in the Ukraine as an opportunity not a tragedy and  women and children are the targets. 

“We need to work closely with European countries to protect the millions of women and children who have fled the country and ensure that they are supported and protected when they arrive in the UK.”

A authorities spokesperson mentioned: “Attempts to exploit vulnerable people are truly despicable – this is why we have designed the Homes for Ukraine scheme to have specific safeguards in place, including robust security and background checks on all sponsors, by the Home Office and local authorities.

“Councils must make at least one in-person visit to a sponsor’s property andthey have a duty to make sure the guest is safe and well once they’ve arrived.”

The Independent has a proud historical past of campaigning for the rights of essentially the most weak, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome marketing campaign throughout the battle in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our marketing campaign and launch this petition within the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian disaster, we’re calling on the federal government to go additional and quicker to make sure assistance is delivered. To discover out extra about our Refugees Welcome marketing campaign, click on right here. To signal the petition click here. If you wish to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe web page.

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