Thursday, July 30, 2020

Covid-19 and the effect on Human Trafficking

It’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. As is the way, I sometimes do posts related to these important international days that have some connection to the work that CEF does. But what can I write about related to Human Trafficking as it all has been said, about how serious it is, how there are many organizations working hard to combat it and now also some governments around the world are fully behind prevention, rescuing and carrying out appropriate punishments. But I can write a little about Covid-19 and how it is affecting Human Trafficking.

Covid is already and further will change the world dramatically. It has been a huge blow to progress in reducing trafficking and poverty according to Matt Friedman of the Mekong Club, who talked at the Asia Region Anti-Trafficking Conference recently.  He said that we have lost ground in reducing modern slavery and that the 15 year advancement we had made, has gone! There are now 42 million people in slavery and 62% of them are in Asia!

Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, a Hanoi based NGO concentrates on prevention and rescues. According to them due to Covid-19 some trafficking rescues in Vietnam were delayed over the last six months, some were still possible thankfully, but the victims had to go into quarantine for two weeks. Not ideal at all considering the victims already are traumatized and need emotional and psychological help.

Matt shared a sad fact that families who are really poor are surrendering their children, including very young girls, more than ever before and are selling them off to brothels and traffickers, as they can’t afford to feed them. A positive is that some brothels are sending girls home as they don’t have enough customers and have growing debt.

Matt said that all communities will be affected, prices of most things will go up along with spending going down. There is a lot of uncertainly for factories, factory owners and employees.  Manufacturing is no longer a smooth process as some parts aren’t being made and delivery of parts are delayed. Orders are slow in coming in, some have none and orders are often cancelled even when the manufacturing is in process. Some factories found the only way to survive and for people not to get ill was to ask the staff to live at the factory , but they had to make a rule that if they left they could not return and often demanded that they carry out unpaid overtime. It’s another new form of slavery. 

Many factories are shutting down or have, most have a reduced work force, with some on reduced salaries and others not paid.  As people are desperate for work, they consider working in worse conditions now. Many won’t have enough to keep a roof over their heads and feed their family. With 60-70% of the world’s factory workers being in Asia, this is a serious situation.  Very sadly it is forecast that half a billion are slipping into poverty, 2.5 million people will suffer from starvation with around a million will die from Covid.  This Covid-19 period in our history is a sad time for all on this planet as it is bringing about more poverty and consequently an increase in trafficking.

(The infographic from Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation shows how Covid-19 is impacting Human

No comments:

Post a Comment