COVID-19 complicating fight against human trafficking

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The coronavirus is affecting people in many different ways including human trafficking survivors.

The pandemic is creating more barriers for organizations in the east working to stop this crime. 

Beverly Weeks is the executive director of the non-profit organization Cry Freedom Missions. 

She explains, “since the beginning of the crisis of COVID we actually have seen a dramatic increase in our numbers.” 

Inmates are being released from jails and prisons to prevent outbreaks inside. 

Among those now out? Trafficking survivors. 

“Some of those girls are going to end up back in an exploitation situation or back on drugs because they don’t have the resources,” says Traci Klein, the director at True Justice International. 

Those survivors need more help than ever.

A lot of these people didn’t know they were going to be released so they didn’t have any plans. oftentimes don’t have anywhere to go in the first place,” says Jonathan Chavous, the COO of Cry Freedom Missions. 

These organizations are trying to find them safe places to ride out the pandemic.

But before they can stay in a safe house, victims have to show they’re coronavirus-free.

Klein states, “Housing is very difficult because bringing in new clients is much more difficult when you have to take into consideration their health and with a shelter in place order.” 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, groups are running low on space. 

“Right now our immediate need is to get a lot of them into hotels until we can get additional rooms that are available in the safe houses,” says Weeks. 

These groups want people to know what’s happening. 

“Abuse is increasing whether it’s spousal abuse child abuse and exploitation. It’s happening even more now and so now more than ever we need the community to come together to help,” Klein says. 

Cry Freedom Missions and True Justice International will continue to do its part in the fight against human trafficking, despite COVID19 and other challenges. 

Non-profit organizations are taking a hit right now due to the coronavirus. 

You can help these efforts by: 

  • Donating to Cry Freedom Missions HERE 
  • Donating to True Justice International HERE

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