Human trafficking and the COVID-19 pandemic have something in common: Both take advantage of those most affected by the inequities prevalent in our societies. COVID-19, like human trafficking, can happen to anyone. But they are a lot more likely to happen to people who are already facing other hardships – like poverty, for one. In the case of COVID-19, people living in poverty generally have less access to healthcare and are therefore typically in poorer health. People in poor health are more vulnerable to COVID-19. In the case of trafficking, people living in poverty likely have fewer options available to them. They may have no economic option outside of their trafficking situation to support their families; or they may be more vulnerable to false promises that lure them into trafficking. At-home schooling has dramatically increased the amount of time that children are spending online – something traffickers are very aware of and often use to lure in their victims. Face mask requirements trigger victims with Post Traumatic Syndrome.
We have had to purchase extra cleaning supplies and PPE as continuous effort is made to stop the spread of COVID-19. Our clients have been imprisoned in trafficking for years and proper hygiene and personal boundaries were not taught. Extra staff have been volunteering their time with independent living skills to re educate the importance of basic hygiene.