The Covid 19 pandemic has exposed the risks of human trafficking and exploitation even as the pandemic increased the need for improving the socio-economic condition of these people, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
“Enforced measures to control the pandemic and worsening socio-economic conditions are having serious implications for those forcibly displaced. Those now faced with lost livelihoods and abject poverty can be targets for traffickers that are unscrupulously exploiting and profiteering from their vulnerabilities,” said UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs.
The UNHCR also said that the data on trafficking was difficult to gather because of the hidden nature of the crime. “Away from home and with varying accessibilities to essential services and social protection networks in host countries, refugees and internally displaced people are among those most at risk,” Triggs said.
The UNHCR said that COVID 19 pandemic has restricted movement and reduced the availability of essential support services. All these had limited their ability to escape or seek help, the UNHRC added.
Stating that more support for preventing trafficking was needed, Triggs said “we need to ramp up efforts to protect those at risk, provide support to victims and to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice. Governments and humanitarian actors need to work together to ensure that programs to assist victims of trafficking are available and accessible to displaced people, and that victims of trafficking who may be in need of international protection are able to access asylum.”