Expert groups on sexual exploitation of women and children working against human trafficking said that amid the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Virus pandemic, cases related to this problem have increased.
Polaris and International Justice Mission are two of the groups actively working for the liberation of 40 million people who are victims of modern slavery.
Polaris Director of Strategic Initiatives Robert Beiser told The Daily Signal, “Buyers are getting more violent, more aggressive, trying to pay less.”
The NGO Polaris, which operates a human trafficking hotline, aims to connect those who are victims of sex or labor trafficking to offer them some assistance in ending the abuse. The hotline also serves to prevent future cases of this type of scourge.
According to Beiser, the virus has created the conditions for human traffickers to further exploit their victims. A study led by the U.S.-based organization has shown that trafficking cases increased by 40 percent in April, compared to April last year.
In a State Department report on human trafficking, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “While urgency has always marked the fight against human trafficking, the implications of the COVID-19 [CCP Virus] pandemic have magnified the need for all stakeholders to work together in the fight more than ever.”
Beiser explained, “theoretically, at this time, when people are sheltered in place and quarantined, men are less likely to go out and buy sex from a stranger who might be trafficked.”
“What we’re seeing online, where sex trafficking is made very easy, is that men keep writing that they’re going out and buying sex,” he said.
So far this year alone, Polaris has received 48,000 calls or text messages from people seeking help. The organization has documented more than 63,000 cases of human trafficking within the United States since 2007.
Meanwhile, the International Justice Mission, a nonprofit organization founded in 1997 by attorney Gary Haugen, likewise sees the CCP Virus pandemic as a threat to populations most susceptible to human trafficking.
Philip Langford, president of the International Justice Mission in the United States, told The Daily Signal, “The greatest form of violence against people living in poverty in the world would be in the area of violence against women and children.”
“We are seeing, country by country, where we are working to protect women and children from violence, massive spikes in sexual assault [and] partner violence as they are locked up in homes and neighborhoods with predators and abusers,” he added.
Langford further noted that the online sexual exploitation of children is one of the sinister ways in which cybersex-trafficking has spread “like wildfire in a forest field.”
According to a report released by Save The Children, children account for a quarter of all victims of trafficking or exploitation, and the CCP Virus pandemic further isolates victims and makes them even harder to reach.
The pandemic crisis has likewise led to new forms of online communication and exploitation by traffickers in the home. According to a European Commission report, in some EU member states, demand for child pornography increased by up to 30% during the quarantine of the CCP Virus.
Langford further noted that access to the use of digital technology has led to an increase in digital exploitation, becoming a problem that affects rich and poor populations alike.
“If you are a cybersex-trafficker in the Philippines, all you need is a cheap Internet connection, which is easy to get. You need a cheap webcam or a cellphone, and just some kind of electronic payment method, and then you are up and running, able to sell to predators and abusers all over the world,” he said.
In the United States, labor trafficking continues to be a concern amid the CCP Virus pandemic.
Beiser noted, “People who cannot work from home because they do not have the kind of work that is economically stable enough to do so … those are the people who would be most likely to be exploited for trafficking.