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The Effect of COVID-19 on Human Trafficking

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

Many of you have asked what effect COVID-19 and the response is having on the trafficking landscape. The reality is we don’t – and can’t – know for certain, but we are deeply concerned. Specifically, we are worried that the economic effects of this virus will increase some of the vulnerabilities that make people susceptible to sex and labor trafficking in the first place – economic need, unstable living conditions, and substance use issues among others. 

We are also extremely worried about the impact this situation will have on immigrant communities, particularly for people who are undocumented. Immigration status has always been used by traffickers as a weapon to keep people under their control. In a climate of fear, these same people are even less likely than before to come forward and seek help. We will keep you posted as we learn more. 

In the meantime, if you are looking for ways to help in your communities, consider ways you can advocate to stay evictions, keep utilities on and help school districts to ensure children are fed during this time of crisis. We know from the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline that homelessness is a key vulnerability for trafficking. We know too many children get at least one and often two meals a day at schools, many of which are now shuttered. We know too many families are a day’s wages away from having the lights turned off. Every voice matters. Use yours. And thank you. 

Also, please know that the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline remains fully operational, all day – and all night. 

We will continue to share what we learn when we know more. In the days ahead we hope to post information about federal and local policy responses so survivors have a trusted, one-stop shop to turn to for information. Let us know if you have resources for the survivor community that we don’t know about and we’ll work on sharing those. Stay healthy. Stay strong. 

Resources for the Survivor Community

  • Safety Planning for Survivors

  • Coronavirus: Survivors & the Workplace

  • Economic Stimulus Payments: Resources for Trafficking Survivors and Other Underserved Communities

Additional Blog Posts

  • Immigrant Workers Have Never Been More Important to Our Wellbeing

  • Essential Resources During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • COVID-19 May Increase Human Trafficking in Vulnerable Communities

  • Domestic Workers Face Economic Devastation During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • COVID-19 Exposes Flaws in the H-2A Visa System

  • Sex Trafficking Is Still Happening – and May Be More Violent Than Ever

  • Trafficking Is Also Hidden in Our Favorite Restaurant’s Kitchen

  • Landlords Coercing Tenants Unable to Pay Rent to Provide Sex: Sex Trafficking or Not?

  • Increase in Child Exploitation May Lead to More Trafficking

  • Working on the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Labor Trafficking Red Flags in Latest Work Visa Program Changes

  • Racial Disparities, COVID-19, and Human Trafficking

20 Actions for 2020

Looking for more ways to help from the comfort of your own home? We have created a list of 20 actions to take in 2020 to help combat sex and labor trafficking.





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