10 ways Covid-19 can impact victims of human trafficking
01/04/2020 – The Corona pandemic health crisis has a potentially far-reaching and long-term negative impact on trafficked and exploited persons. Although at this stage it is not yet possible to make a realistic assessment of the full impact it will produce, it is very likely that its socio-economic consequences will make marginalized people more vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation.
- Children out of school, likely spending more time on the Internet or gaming, are more prone to falling prey to child trafficking criminals.
- Irregular workers and undocumented migrants may be left with little or no jobs, and little or no welfare assistance; a fertile ground for exploitation.
- Victims of domestic servitude who are shut in with their employers, unable to access police or social services, may be further victimized by physical or sexual abuse.
- Identifying victims becomes more difficult, as they may be unable to escape abusive circumstances, and behind closed doors may be exposed to more extreme forms of abuse.
- Compounding the problem, identifying victims of human trafficking for sexual or forced labour often relies on identification and reporting by the public, which is to become significantly less or fall away completely as social distancing comes into effect.
- Monitoring children and youth in vulnerable communities becomes increasingly difficult when teachers, community leaders, social workers and other points of outreach are also confined indoors.
- Gangs operating in refugee camps could profit from the chaos to take advantage of the most vulnerable.
- With the disruption in manufacturing around the world, supply chain workers can be left destitute and in need to search for even more precarious work, exposing themselves to a greater risk of exploitation.
- In southeast Asia, as a result of school closures, the absence of subsidized school meals and the economic damage caused by the pandemic, families may seek alternative forms of income and force their children into child labour or early marriage.
- Survivors of human trafficking may have a hard time coping with social distancing. Life on lockdown may trigger memories of the physical, emotional, financial, and psychological barriers they have experienced in captivity.
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