As information about the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds every hour, we wanted to update you, our incredible supporters, on our work during this concerning time for the global community. CATW’s virtual doors are open. Our team is working remotely, still advocating for law and policy changes, raising public awareness and supporting the survivor-led movement worldwide. We remain committed to ending trafficking and sexual exploitation around the world.
While we are collectively shifting the way we work and live worldwide, the sex trade hasn’t changed in the face of this crisis. Recent online stories describe that men who purchase sexual acts now fear developing COVID-19 through their use of prostitution. As a result, according to accounts, the commercial sex market is in a downward economic spiral. This reported impact proves that the sex trade, where sex trafficking happens, is primarily driven by the demand for prostitution. Sex buyers fuel sex trafficking, a multi-billion-dollar, global, illicit enterprise. This is why we must address the demand for prostitution through law and policy if we are to end the trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls.
However, prostituted women’s lives remain extremely precarious. They are certainly at great risk of being infected with the novel coronavirus. But let’s not forget what they face in the sex trade itself: exploitation and abuse every day at the hands of sex buyers, traffickers and pimps. The physical and psychological harms these perpetrators inflict on women and girls in prostitution are lifelong.
For anyone who is affected by sex trafficking or sexual exploitation and is looking for help, we have compiled a list of resources with an overview of hotlines and direct service providers around the world.
We must not forget the most marginalized women and girls during this challenging period. Our team’s dedication to creating a world where no woman or girl is bought or sold endures. In collaboration with our global partners, we continue our advocacy at all levels of government to end impunity for these human rights violations. And we are steadfast in our determination to ensure that sex trafficked and prostituted women and girls have access to comprehensive services, to justice and to the possibility of rebuilding their lives.
Thank you for your incredible support during these difficult times. We extend our best wishes for health and safety to you, your family, friends and colleagues. We are all in this together.