The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) warns that measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus are exposing victims of human trafficking to further exploitation and limiting their access to essential services.

“There are fears that COVID-19 is making the task of identifying victims of human trafficking even more difficult. They are also more exposed to contracting the virus, less equipped to prevent it, and have less access to healthcare to ensure their recovery. Essential and practical operations to support them have become a challenge, due to countries adjusting their priorities during the pandemic. Dramatic increases in unemployment and reductions in income, especially for low wage and informal sector workers, mean that significant numbers of people who were already vulnerable find themselves in even more precarious circumstances. From the garment industry, agriculture and farming, to manufacturing and domestic work, millions of people who were living in subsistence conditions have lost their wages. Those who continue to work in these sectors, where trafficking is frequently detected, may also face more exploitation because of the need to lower production costs due to economic difficulties, as well as due to less controls by the authorities.”

For the full report see Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Trafficking in Persons.