Fieldwork in Ukraine

I spent the last two weeks in Ukraine conducting interviews around Ukraine with anti-trafficking organizations as part of our NSF funded project on human trafficking recruitment during war. I was thankful for the opportunity to go but was astonished at just how frequent the air raid sirens sounded, often disrupting my daily activities and a good nights sleep. I was in Ukraine for 16 days and every day it was a constant deluge of Russian missiles across Ukraine, the extent to which is not covered in the US media. The only thing that protected us were air defense systems that shot down many but not all incoming missiles and civilians still died every day across Ukraine due to Russian bombs. One of the most anxiety producing elements of it was a channel on telegram where you could see what was being fired at you, things like MiGs, shahed drones, iskander missiles etc. When I was in Kyiv we had a massive attack one night with over 30 missiles taken down by Ukrainian air defense including cruise missiles, strategic bombers, and ballistic missiles. All the rockets entered the capital at the same time from different directions. I was too far away from a metro stop to get there in time so I sheltered in place. The building shook and you could hear the missile defense shooting things down in central Kyiv.

The war was omnipresent and air raid sirens sounded during many of my interviews in different cities across Ukraine like L'viv, Ternopil, Lutsk, Uzhhorod. I also saw increased awareness of trafficking during war with posters in malls, bus stations, and train stations around Ukraine with their national hotline 527 and warning signs for sexual and labor exploitation. It was nice to see Ukraine posting this important information and improving awareness during Russia's war. Here are a few examples of the posters that I saw while I was traveling around Ukraine interviewing anti-trafficking organizations working to combat trafficking during war.


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