The battle against human trafficking is a lot more challenging during the pandemic.
With the pandemic going on, victims of human trafficking have a less chance of escaping and getting help. Some countries have closed their borders and victims are unable to return home.
Children are more at risk of getting abused due to school closure. School closures not only limited access to education, but also blocked a source of shelter and food for millions of children. According to the UN, there are 370 million children missing out on school meals. Those school meals are their only reliable source of nutrition and now they are forced onto the streets to search for food and money.
Traffickers are more active during the pandemic because people are more vulnerable than before due to their lost source of income. Some victims no longer have access to shelters because they were closed down or have a limited capacity due to the virus.
So, how can you help? Victims are often too afraid to ask for help and may even deny needing it when confronted because they are scared or threatened. Look for the following signs to spot a victim of human trafficking:
If you see something, say something! Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888)-373-7888 if you suspect human trafficking.