Human traffickers. Pimps. Any individual who sells human beings for a profit is thriving during the coronavirus pandemic according to experts from around the world.
“If you are a trafficker this is a boon to your illicit operations. Traffickers are not shutting down; they are innovating and capitalizing on this chaos. Governments are focused on a legitimate public health problem. They are not as invested in proactive investigations to identify human trafficking. “(But) this is not a time to take the eye off the ball. (Combating trafficking) must remain a priority despite this global disruption.”
JOHN COTTON RICHMOND, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO MONITOR AND COMBAT TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
“Traffickers have also expanded their reach through the misuse of internet and communication technology to advertise, recruit and exploit persons, and especially lure children whom they groom for sexual online exploitation. How can we continue to detect victims who are further hidden, or exploited from their own homes?”
MORGANE NICOT, TEAM LEADER IN THE TRAFFICKING AND SMUGGLING SECTION, UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME (UNODC)
“We are already seeing traffickers adjust their strategies in sexual exploitation which has surged online since spring. Attention is diverted from deterring criminal actors and supporting victims, while vulnerable persons already living in precarious circumstances are now at greater risk for being swept into exploitative situations.”
VALIANT RICHEY, HEAD OF ANTI-TRAFFICKING AT THE ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND CO-OPERATION IN EUROPE (OSCE)
Lockdowns, stay home orders, sheltering in place, school closures, social distancing, business shutdowns and quarantine were all were designed to stop the spread of this virus and keep us safe. However, lock down can also mean locked in.
These measures, necessary to stop the spread of the virus, are also isolating individuals. It is making the vulnerable even more vulnerable. This is dangerous!
Before the virus, it was estimated that over 25 million people worldwide are currently victims of trafficking and that it is a $150 billion-a-year criminal enterprise; according to the U.N. International Labor Organization (ILO). I, along with many world anti-human trafficking leaders, are fearful those numbers are escalating due to the pandemic. This virus has created a petri dish for human trafficking. Homeless youth. The inability to work. Forced homeschooling. Lack of supervision. More online activity. If you can’t work, if you can’t go to school, if you can’t eat, then a trafficker’s ability to lure you into their world increases.
We want to rescue more children. With your help we can do just that in 2021. Please give. Thank you for your prayerful consideration. Many blessings...
Founder and CEO, Courage Worldwide