Covid-19 threatens sex workers and buyers

As the Coronavirus outbreak spreads, sex slaves are doubly at risk according to this article by Thompson Reuters. Forced to continue working by their captors, they are getting less business and open to catching the virus from their customers.

Commuters at Hammersmith underground station as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, London, Britain, March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Britain is home to at least 136,000 slaves, according to the Global Slavery Index by the Walk Free Foundation. Victims come from nations such as Albania, Vietnam, China, Nigeria and India, and work in sectors from construction to catering and cleaning.

“The hostile environment (for migrants) may make them feel that not reaching out for medical help would be less risky than staying in an exploitative situation,” Rebecca Chambers, a spokeswoman for Anti-Slavery International, said in a blog post.

“Not accessing healthcare when they need to do so would be detrimental to their health and may end tragically for them and others,” she added. “So while modern slavery is a problem often unseen, coronavirus makes it a direct problem for all of us.”

Thompson Reuters Foundation News

While few rescued workers are offered help and rehabilitation in the UK, most are deported or imprisoned.

“We have heard from survivors in the past who have carried on working with injuries or illnesses,” said Tamara Barnett, head of the Human Trafficking Foundation. “The government needs to make clear that no-one who comes forward will be detained.”

For more on the story, check the full article by Kieran Guilbert on Thompson Reuters Foundation News.

Originally published at Stop Human Trafficking Website.

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Writer & photographer in print & online. Proud husband, father & grandfather. Engaged volunteer with Red Cross, human trafficking prevention & social concerns.

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Doug Bardwell

Doug Bardwell

Writer & photographer in print & online. Proud husband, father & grandfather. Engaged volunteer with Red Cross, human trafficking prevention & social concerns.

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