March 26, 2020
Over the last three months, the world has experienced the outbreak of one of the biggest pandemics in recent history—COVID-19, more commonly referred to as the coronavirus. To date, it has infected hundreds of thousands of people across the globe, leading to significant shutdowns from nearly every government in the world in an attempt to stop the spread. Even in the midst of these uncertain times, however, we are determined to continue our work to bring freedom and hope to the most vulnerable across the globe.
One of the primary areas that has been significantly affected by this outbreak is the transit of people from place to place—which is the specific emphasis of our transit monitoring strategy. However, we do not expect that human traffickers will follow the mandates of governments or take the same measures aimed at protecting the weak and vulnerable among us as the rest of the world.
Instead, we can be very confident that traffickers will seek ways to take advantage of this situation—where the whole world has their eyes on just one issue—to increase their profits.
To date, several of the transit routes where we monitor are seeing reduced traffic, and in some places governments have ordered companies and organizations to stop working. While we definitely acknowledge the need for our projects to follow the direction of local governments, we are also adamant that it is essential to continue the fight against human trafficking amid this outbreak.
As is evident all around us, the safety of each community depends on the work of many people—medical professionals, police officers, grocers, and many others who protect the population at large through their work. Like many of these professions, our monitors have a significant positive impact on their communities, saving hundreds of people from human trafficking each month. Because of this impact, we consider their work to be essential.
This is uncharted territory for all of us. As we continue our mission to stop human trafficking, we are diligently evaluating the most effective ways to keep our staff healthy and safe while we passionately seek to be there for those who need us the most. We are also aware that traffickers are likely being forced to alter their strategies in the midst of this pandemic, and we are determined to adjust our monitoring so we can continue to expose them.
We take the safety of our staff very seriously. In the midst of the outbreak of COVID-19, we are exploring optimal ways to continue our crucial transit monitoring while minimizing exposure and following each location's government directives. This includes implementing monitoring at a further distance from people and stationing our staff at less-traveled or less-checked transit areas and routes.
We are asking any of our teams that are forced to temporarily shut down to find creative ways to continue their transit monitoring and fight against human trafficking. We are meeting with all of our project managers around the world on an ongoing basis in order to talk through the most effective way to implement our work in their specific locations during this unprecedented time.
This pandemic has been a powerful reminder of the responsibility we all have to do our part to help and to protect humanity. We believe in a world where human life is valued and worth protecting whatever the cost—because every life is priceless. Our teams are dedicated to continuing the vital work to care for the most vulnerable across the globe. For a look at even more ways we are fighting human trafficking, visit here.
*All content, data, and statistics current at the date and time of publishing.