Men up to age 60 stayed behind to fight against the Russian invasion while wives and children fled to neighboring countries. Elizabeth Good of The Foundation United says the criminal element was there as the families crossed the border, especially into Romania and Moldova.
"They had cars lined up with traffickers just waiting, and all they had to say is almost exactly the same as you see anywhere," Good reports. "They literally say, 'Hey, I'll help you. Come up with your son. I'll take you someplace. Come with your daughter. I'll get you food. I'll get you shelter,' and then they're gone completely, never to be seen again."
Sometimes mothers are tricked into surrendering their children to the traffickers.
"When you are so desperate and you're starving, they're like, 'I don't have enough for you, but if you'll let me just take your children, I'll make sure they're safe,'" Good poses. "In a mother's mind at the moment, she might trust somebody."
She says traffickers often present a man and a woman who will assure a mother they will take care of her children and come back for her once the children are settled, "and then before you know it, the mother will never see her children again."
The Foundation United is working with sister organizations to intervene for refugees as they arrive in several countries.