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COVID-19 and the Impact on Survivors of Human Trafficking, Domestic Violence, & Sexual Assault

Intimate partner violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and human trafficking are on the rise during COVID-19 because many families and survivors are staying home, or are isolated from support systems. This isolation, along with increased stress and financial instability, puts survivors more at risk for violence in their homes.[i] Immigrant survivors of violence also face additional barriers, including limited access to healthcare and social services, and their immigration and work authorization process have been impacted. High unemployment rates during COVID-19 can affect survivors’ financial independence, which in turn can make them more dependent on the person(s) causing them harm and make them more vulnerable to exploitation. Communities of color and LGBTQ communities are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, especially during COVID-19. Read more about the impact of COVID-19 on adult trafficking survivors and child sex and labor trafficking survivors

The resources on this page are intended to support the needs of survivors and to support human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual assault programs, community health centers, workplaces, and other community programs and organizations in their work to serve trafficking survivors during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Especially during COVID-19, community collaboratives are an important way to ensure that the needs of survivors are met. Please visit the Building Collaborative Responses to Human Trafficking for additional resources and let us know if we can provide support or additional resources.

Resources for Supporting Survivors, Families, and Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault (DV/SA) Programs during COVID-19

The COVID-19 public health emergency is putting survivors at a higher risk for violence and exploitation, and it has changed the way that advocacy programs offer services. Listed below are resources for survivors to help cope with their experiences and to assist in safety planning.

Resources for Service Providers to Support Survivors during COVID-19 

Survivors of human trafficking, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault will have a range of needs during COVID-19. See below for a list of resources for service providers, including for domestic violence programs, human services programs, emergency responders, housing programs, and other social service providers.

Supporting the Health and Wellness of Trafficking Survivors during COVID-19

Due to increased stress, higher unemployment and underemployment rates, and barriers to accessing services that survivors may experience, supporting the health and wellness of survivors during COVID-19 is critical. Health professionals and advocates are in a unique position to coordinate their care both virtually and in person to meet a survivor’s safety planning and health care needs, and to promote prevention. Learn more by visiting the online toolkit, www.IPVHealthPartners.org/covid19, which provides tools for building community health center and DV program partnerships to support survivors. Also see the links below for information on supporting health and wellness during COVID-19, information on health care access for immigrants (including public charge), and resources in Spanish for information on accessing health care. 

COVID-19 Resources for Workplaces and Economic Development Programs 

The increased financial stress due to economic instability, job loss, and reduced working hours can contribute to increased violence and risk for exploitation. The following resources offer support both for workplaces to help provide safety and a trauma-informed environment for survivors, as well as help to meet the financial needs of survivors and increase job security.

FUTURES provides training and technical assistance for the Building Collaborative Responses to Human Trafficking project, which supports organizations seeking to work collaboratively to effectively respond to human trafficking in their communities. Especially during COVID-19, community collaboratives are an important way to ensure that all the needs a survivor has can be met, including needs for health services, legal services, housing, among others. To request technical assistance, resources, or for more information on the Building Collaborative Responses Project, please contact Mónica Arenas at: marenas@futureswithoutviolence.org

[i] Campbell A. M. (2020). An increasing risk of family violence during the Covid-19 pandemic: Strengthening community collaborations to save lives. Forensic Science International: Reports, 2, 100089. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fsir.2020.100089