Since the start of the pandemic the number of children exploited online has increased by over 50%
COVID-19 has had a debilitating effect on the world as a whole. Some have lost their jobs, loved ones, or livelihoods. Everyone has lost something to some degree. As many find themselves emotionally and financially worse off, their vulnerability to modern slavery is heightened.
With school closures and little to no childcare available, children have been spending long hours unsupervised online, according to The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children there has been an increase from 2 million to 4.2 million reports of online exploitation from March to April 2020 alone. These children, with no access to schools or daycare, arent around adults who could spot the warning signs before it’s too late.
Desperate Times Mean Desperate Behaviours
Human traffickers prey on the weak and vulnerable, thanks to COVID-19, many are finding themselves within this category. As COVID-19 has forced people out of work, many are finding themselves in desperate situations. As savings dwindle, and government support scarce many find themselves unable to pay rent and unprotected. The prospect, and actualisation of homelessness heightens the vulnerability of those already struggling to make ends meet and this leaves people perfectly exposed to traffickers who can lure those at risk on false promises of employment and accommodation.
Harder to get Help
For those stuck in the vice like grip of modern slavery, help is harder to come by now more than ever. Lockdowns and imposed restrictions have forced traffickers further underground as they continue with their enterprise. The government enforced isolation greatly reduces any chance of the victims being identified and helped out of their situations. Getting help from within the confines of trafficking is already difficult, but these additional obstacles to access services, assistance and support due to confinments at home have greatly exacerbated the problem.
As countries have had to adjust their fiscal priorities to account for the pandemic, there has been a reduction of government services to help identified victims, meaning that even once out of the traffickers grasp they are still not getting the help they need.
What Can Be Done?
Restriction of movement, coupled with an increased footfall of police on the streets may have led to a reduction in some areas of crime, organised criminal enterprises adapt well to changes in circumstances.
Raising awareness of this issue is a huge help in getting the government to recognise the importance of this issue.
We, at New Tribe Pictures, are making ‘Forgotten’ with the intention to raise awareness on this horrendous crime. Our story may be set in 1970s England, but the message is just as poignant as ever in our current, unprecedented times.
Keep up to date with our socials linked below to follow our journey as we help continue the fight against Modern Slavery.