VINNYTSIA, Ukraine - Three years ago, the U.S. European Command consolidated military installations located throughout Europe. As installations closed and buildings were emptied, office furniture, computers, beds, and other furniture and equipment piled up in U.S.-owned warehouses in Italy.
Thanks to the efforts of EUCOM civil engineers, some of those items were recently given new homes in Vinnytsia, Ukraine. Personnel from the U.S. Embassy to Ukraine, EUCOM officials, and members of local Ukrainian government and non-government organizations gathered at the brand-new Vinnytsia Community Education Center for an inauguration ceremony.
The project began in 2012 as a request from a local non-government organization. They wanted a resource center in their area to provide education, training and protection to socially-vulnerable individuals, all as part of an effort to prevent human trafficking.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation - often referred to as a modern-day form of slavery - is a multi-billion dollar criminal activity in Ukraine. Trafficking of women and children for this type of exploitation is a serious problem affecting hundreds of thousands of victims and their families.