Today, Bill Clark, A21's Chief Advancement Officer was honored to be a part a panel hosted by The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Task Force to Eradicate Human Trafficking with the White House to discuss the current state of human trafficking amidst the effects of COVID-19 and effective strategies to combat it. The event included remarks industry leaders and NGO partners Natalya Wallin, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, James Cockayne, Ph.D., Director of the Centre for Policy Research, and John Cotton Richmond, Ambassador-At-Large at the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons of the U.S. Department of State.
I want you to know that our teams have been working tirelessly to support the survivors in our care during this challenging time and we are grateful for your continued support, now more than ever.
Here are some of the ways your giving is allowing A21 to provide support:
In this season of unprecedented disruption from COVID-19, I am grateful for the agility of our front line teams who are finding creative ways to continue to provide the best care for the survivors we have the privilege of working with.
But, we still need your help.
To adapt to the impact the pandemic has had on our aftercare programs and the lives of survivors in our care, we've had to increase our budget to continue providing the highest level of care possible. And it's your support that allows us to do that–reminding our survivors that people care about them, and are committed to standing with them in every season.
Together, we will continue reaching those who are vulnerable, assisting victims to freedom, and supporting survivors during this time.
Christine Caine- A21 Founder
I wanted to personally reach out to you and let you know how A21 is responding to COVID-19. We hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy during this season.
Firstly, I want you to know that the safety and well being of our team and the survivors in our care is of utmost importance to us. We're employing a range of safeguarding strategies to ensure that everyone is safe and healthy by following local government directions to contain and minimize the impact of the virus spreading.
Secondly, we understand that injustice does not stop; therefore we must not stop. And we will continue to find ways in which our team can respond to injustice in such a time as this.
Below are some common questions that you may be asking:
It's still early and we are continuing to look into this, but one area we are preparing to see an increase is in online exploitation. We work with this type of exploitation every day, especially through our CAC in Thailand.
Also, because of the increase in unemployment right now, this leads to increased vulnerability for people who are looking for new opportunities. Some of these people may be prepared to take great risks in getting employment which sets them up as easier targets for traffickers and trafficking schemes. Therefore prevention and awareness is one of our most powerful tools.
Yes! All national hotlines are operational and covered 24/7 and we are still receiving calls. We have the technology to move the line remotely if need be and we are offering the same services as we did before COVID-19. Our Child Advocacy Centers are still open, working with the local authorities to ensure the protection of children.
The safety and security of the survivors we have the privilege of working with is always our top priority. I want you to know that COVID-19 will not stop us from providing them with the best care possible. In locations where our Freedom Centers are not able to operate at this time, we are doing personal visits to ensure every survivor in our care still is supported. Here are some other ways we are continuing to provide support:
- Providing health care to survivors in our care
- Making sure survivors have essentials (food, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, etc.)
- Teaching life skills on hygiene
- Encouraging regular hand washing and hand sanitizer use
- Following social distancing guidelines
- Continuing to provide accommodation and financial support to survivors as needed
In areas where restrictions prevent in-person visits, we will be utilizing technology to ensure we remain in contact with each survivor in our care. To support survivors during these challenging times, we invite you to make a donation for A21's aftercare programs by clicking here.
Lastly, as you may be spending a lot more time inside and online, I want to make sure you know about our free prevention and awareness programs here. We have guides for students, teachers, parents, and anyone who would like to learn more about human trafficking. Prevention efforts are key to stopping this injustice before it starts, so we encourage you to share these resources with others.
Nick Caine, A21 CEO