Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, many trafficked victims are experiencing hardship and a total loss of income because of the mandated closure of clubs, bars and restaurants that makes them extremely vulnerable to being solicited by sex traffickers or (for those already in the life) at greater risk of abuse and exposure to Covid-19. As the women self-isolate they are left unprotected and increasingly vulnerable.
For young women already on the street who need help, the social distancing requirements leave many shelters limited in terms of capacity and nearly all shelters are no longer able to accept those in need because their staff can no longer meet survivors in-person.
Predators are taking advantage now more than ever of those who remain on the streets unprotected due to this devastating pandemic.
Are the single source of information and connection to the outside world for victims, which further enhances their power in the relationship.
Target all groups (regardless of income, race, gender, etc.)
Prey on vulnerable, many of whom were abused as children or in abusive relationships, from foster homes, runaways or in abusive home environments.
Focus on humiliation and emotional intimidation
While we continue to navigate serving the population and keeping everyone safe, keeping a watchful eye for anything in our communities can go a long way. If you see something that seems off or out of the ordinary, report it.
Regardless of this pandemic that we are facing nationwide, trafficking shows no sign of slowing down. It is our job to protect the vulnerable and provide them with options to stay safe.
If you know someone who is in need of help, call Selah Freedom’s intake # at: 1-888-8-FREE-ME.