During this highly sensitive time, there is a significant increase in vulnerable populations. This leaves more people exposed to the dangers of human trafficking, from children roaming the internet unattended to those desperate to make ends meet. These victims are more susceptible than ever and we’re expecting to see a spike in activities in the months following this pandemic.
COVID has made a grave impact on housing instability. Experts estimate that homelessness increases between 40-45% this year which would result in an addition of 250,000 people into homelessness. Traffickers prey specifically on housing vulnerabilities when choosing their victims, and this population is more at risk now than ever. Unsheltered homeless populations face very restricted options for survival, the most common choices being selling drugs or trading sex. This makes these individuals susceptible to the promises of traffickers who recognize and target their vulnerabilities.
Homeless youth are especially in danger, seeing how both their age and situation put them even more at risk to manipulation and deception by traffickers. It is estimated that a staggering one-in-five homeless youth are trafficked.
Due to the alarming nature of these reports, it is crucial that these individuals get the protection that they need.