As the unprecedented novel coronavirus leaves more and more people destabilized and desperate, human traffickers are expanding their system of exploitation.
Yet, many individuals, companies, and organizations have stepped up to protect the needy. Likewise, there are many ways to stay safe and fight against trafficking. Here are five ways to help.
Know the facts about coronavirus and human trafficking. Understanding is the first step of any solution. By recognizing the connection between crises like COVID-19 and human trafficking, you can more appropriately respond to both. For instance, taking measures to help prevent the spread of the virus helps prevent more people from becoming at-risk to exploitation.
Share information to build awareness and save lives.
Communities matter. The U.N. Inter Agency Standing Committee underscores this in their recent statement: “With restrictions on travel and movement, civil society and humanitarian organizations play a critical role in supporting governments to respond.”
As a member of civil society, every simple action matters. So if you’re concerned about someone you know, or simply want to make your own public service announcement, share the Human Trafficking Hotline and Crisis number. It could reach the right person at the right time.
Protect your family.
Because of the increased threat of online predatory behavior as children and teens increase time online, it’s crucial for young people to be aware and for parents to communicate safety expectations. The FBI recommends putting strict electronic privacy settings in place and monitoring kids’ online profiles. Most importantly, parents should foster open communication with their children, increasing the likelihood kids will report being inappropriately solicited online.
Engage in preventive measures.
Community reports is one of the leading drivers of trafficking reports, and you can learn how to support . If someone you know is vulnerable, or can no longer access needed services, ask how you can help. That could be offering childcare, buying medicine, cooking a meal–ultimately helping people remain strong against exploitation.
Here are prevention education resources.
Support anti-trafficking organizations in your community.
As we highlighted last week, online exploitation through the porn industry has spiked. You can join the campaign spearheaded by Exodus Cry (traffickinghub.com) to shut down the world’s leading porn site for its complicity in sex trafficking, child abuse, and rape.
Even consider donating your time and resources. This could be volunteering for crisis hotlines, buying from companies that donate or support victims of trafficking, donating excess products or food to a local shelter, or even making plans to volunteer remotely or in the future. For example, donating resources to North Star Initiative or buying coffee from Hope Inspire Love are two simple ways to support local nonprofits serving trafficked individuals.
We’re here to help you get connected. Together, we will build a system that’s stronger than the human trafficking network.
National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1 (888) 373-7888 | SMS: 233733 (Text “HELP” or “INFO”).
Crisis Text Line: Text “PA” or “HOME” to 741741.