How COVID-19 is Affecting Trafficking

by | May 4, 2020 | Formation, Reflections

The world has shrunk, hasn’t it? It’s become a world where the unknowns outweigh the knowns, and the sole prescribed antidote to survival consists of three short words: “stay at home.” But what if home proves more dangerous than the threat of an insatiable virus? What if “home” isn’t really a home?

Many are thinking of the poor and the homeless during this time. They are without a safe home where they can maintain social distancing and without the ability to avoid crowded places. Many of these individuals are also working the jobs that are deemed essential and they must continue to report to work for the rest of society. Yes, these individuals are among some of the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

And what about those who have been trafficked? These individuals aren’t being socially distanced. Rather, the demand for sex trafficking is still high. And they aren’t keeping six feet apart with proper protective equipment. These individuals are being further emotionally isolated by the new normal of our world. To whom can they turn for help? Who will protect them from getting sick, or who will pay for their care when they do?

Unfortunately, many shelters and agencies have closed and non-profit organizations that are dependent on donations to exist are at risk due to the economic downturn. These are the places human trafficking victims have relied upon to escape their abusers. Without these organizations, where can the victims turn?

Every crisis has its heroes. Each of us has seen the images of healthcare workers, marks on their faces from PPE, exhausted after caring for the sick and dying day after day. But our world also needs other types of heroes. The heroes who will extend a hand to the vulnerable of our society; to reach out to those who are alone and alienated from those they love. We may be isolated, but we can be united in keeping our humanity intact and reaching out to those trapped in a world not of their making and desperately in need of our help.

How can you help victims of human trafficking?

Sister Michelle Loisel, D.C.