COVID-19 is having a catastrophic impact on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC). Shutting down businesses and limiting public spaces hasn’t stopped traffickers; they’ve simply adjusted their business practices to the pandemic. Stay-at-home orders may also mean that some victims are forced to quarantine with their trafficker/abuser.
A survey created by UN women and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of trafficking survivors found that COVID-19 showed a number of increased risks for victims of trafficking, such as the intensification of control, violence, and isolation. It also found that SEC has shifted from traditional formats to various forms of online trafficking and illegal pornography production.
To make matters worse, COVID-19 impacts the presence and capacity of essential services to support survivors and individuals at risk of this atrocious crime.
We also know that many of the root causes of sex trafficking have been exacerbated by the pandemic by…
- Negatively impacting the mental health of victims due to isolation caused by lockdowns
- Deepening social and economic inequalities
- Significantly increasing the amount of time children and youth spend online where they are vulnerable to online sexual exploitation.
While anyone can be trafficked, we know that some groups living on the margins of society, are at a heightened risk. It’s critical that information on the recruitment tactics of traffickers, how to report cases, and where to get support, reaches these youth, before traffickers do. With the help of our generous supporters, donors, volunteers, and allies, we’re working harder than ever to get this information to them, swiftly. To support our prevention education work at this critical time, click on the button below.
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OneChild Network & Support Inc. is a registered Canadian charity: No. 831160544RR0001