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20.03.2020

Coronavirus: how to protect those at risk as the world changes

Ruth Dearnley, CEO of STOP THE TRAFFIK.
It’s been a strange week. In such a short time, Coronavirus has impacted every person in some way, everywhere. I am now working from home. I’m connecting to family, neighbours and my community virtually: sharing my worries and finding ways to cope. 

Global conversation has changed from being dominated by politics and division to one that is seeking to cohesively adapt to a threat we all face – and stop it accordingly

Sometimes, it is when things are most uncertain, that we start to see things most clearly. Responding to this crisis is bringing us together.

While the advice is to distance ourselves from others, we can be more connected than any generation before us. Through social media and technology, we can keep in contact, build community, and create social change. 

Are human traffickers isolating themselves? 

Although borders are shutting, and people are isolated, traffickers are exploiting at every opportunity. It has always been the case that traffickers will seek out and exploit human beings at their most vulnerable. 

Where there is uncertainty, loss of reliable income or loss of life, exploitation will follow. Traffickers thrive on making a promise of a better life, so the harder things get, the more exploitation will thrive. 

We are already seeing an increase in counterfeit goods and scams – errant businesses are going to exploit people to meet our increased demand. Facemasks made by exploitative labour practices are hitting the markets. We must be vigilant that we don’t let fear blind us to the needs and exploitation of others. 

An intelligence-led approach is fundamental right now – never before has it been so important to collect information and understand data. This is how we can reach and target vulnerable groups to keep them safe. This is true from a public health perspective, keeping people safe from infection, as well as from the point of view of the inevitable fall-out that is yet to come. Job losses and business closures are inescapable, groups such as refugees and the homeless will become increasingly vulnerable.

We must protect those at risk as the world changes. STOP THE TRAFFIK has the people, the tech, and the expertise – and we’re grateful for your crucial ongoing support.  

Now is the time to act

STOP THE TRAFFIK has led the way in building generous partnerships and working in collaboration, and we share our findings with everyone who can be a part of the solution. 

In that vein, over the coming days and weeks, we commit to the following: 

1. We will increase our targeted, focused community campaigns

Getting safety information to those who are most at risk, as fast as we can. 

2. We will use our intelligence-led approach to make predictions

Seeking to make predictions on the human trafficking risks as a result of Covid 19.  

3. We will continue to share our insights

Sharing with anyone who wants to apply them to reduce vulnerability, including our global partners across business, government, communities, and enforcement. 

4. We will continue to support business at this challenging time

Enabling them to know the risk of modern slavery to their supply chains as the landscape changes 

What next?

Watch this space: there’ll be more ways that you can help us, and we’ll be communicating this over the coming days. It takes a global community to prevent human trafficking. 

As the STOP THE TRAFFIK global team conducts business from our kitchen tables instead of our offices, we remain committed to identify, prevent, and ultimately stop human trafficking.  

Keep safe. 

Yours,
Ruth and the STOP THE TRAFFIK team

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