In April of 2020, we told of a family who, in desperation, was considering selling their youngest child to traffickers to provide for the rest of their family. Our AIM staff was, luckily, doing community outreach at the time and they were able to intervene, providing for the needs of the family and preventing the exploitation of their 4-month old baby. Praise God for His timing and provision over this situation, that He allowed AIM staff to be able to meet the needs of this family.
Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the subsequent economic recession, stories like this are not uncommon. In a recent report released by the United Nations, researchers identified the economic effect of COVID and the predicted impact that will have on human trafficking in all forms. It is expected that the recession that has resulted from the pandemic will cause a 6.2 percent decrease in global per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Countries that rely on tourism, travel, and hospitality are being particularly affected by these economic disruptions. For example, the World Bank estimates that Growth GDP per capita will decrease drastically to -8% in Latin America, -5.3% in Sub-Saharan Africa, and -4% in South Asian for 2020 (GloTIP, 76).
What does this economic instability mean for human trafficking?
It has been shown that “economic need” is a cause of vulnerability in a significant number of trafficking cases. In fact, in court cases analyzed by the UNODC, economic need was listed as a cause of vulnerability in 52% of female accounts and 50% of male accounts. When an individual is in financial distress, they are increasingly willing to accept exploitative employment or be persuaded to do so. It can thus be expected that, as entire countries are facing the economic fallout of the pandemic, significant proportions of the populations would be susceptible to the horrors of trafficking.
“As already anticipated by UNODC, the sharp increase in unemployment rates already seen in many parts of the world are likely to increase incidents of cross-border trafficking in persons from countries experiencing the fastest and most persistent decreases in employment.”
-The Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2020
AIM Responds with Humanitarian Aid
It may be a new year, but the challenges that 2020 brought are still being played out in 2021. Cambodia is one of the aforementioned countries that relies heavily on tourism, travel, and hospitality to drive their economy. Additionally, record flooding in the country has left farmers and those in the agricultural industry vulnerable to the same economic instability.
At AIM, we believe in holistically combatting human trafficking. That means, when situations arise that make trafficking more likely, we will address it. Our humanitarian aid fund is set aside for just this reason. Whether it’s providing rice for families in need or rebuilding houses that have been destroyed, this kind of preventative work is meant to stop exploitation before it starts.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.Galatians 6:2
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.John 15:12
When we follow Christ’s commandment to love others as HE has loved us, we create a community that is stronger than the adversity we face.