There have recently been two insightful research projects that shine a spotlight on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on excluded groups in society, including victims and survivors of modern slavery: Doctors of the World’s “Unsafe Distance*” and Global Initiative’s “Aggravating Circumstances**”.
What is clear from this research is that the impact of this pandemic is disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable, and in particular, victims and survivors of modern slavery. They are already “entering the pandemic from a position of disadvantage” (Doctors of the World) and thus are subject to:
- Higher risk of being exposed to the virus
- Struggling to access and use healthcare and other services, due to fear, distrust, closure of some specialist services and language barriers
- A negative social and pscychosocial impact on their mental health, exacerbated by lack of social support networks, cramped lockdown living conditions and enforced homeschoolin
- Digital exclusion
These findings are reflected in Adavu’s current experiences of supporting survivors.
Another key finding is that the Covid-19 situation is exacerbating human trafficking situations, and ultimately leading to greater exploitation. The cycle intensifies and victims are increasingly expendable commodities.
In summary, survivors are at the sharp end of this pandemic. We must continue to advocate for and walk alongside survivors as we all navigate – together – these turbulent times.