AUSTIN (KXAN) — Advocates who help victims of human trafficking worry the COVID-19 pandemic could make it harder to escape trafficking.
Polaris, the non-profit that operates the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline, says there are a number of concerns amid the pandemic. The hotline is still in operation, with call takers currently working from home.
One of those concerns is that the economic effects of the outbreak may lead to vulnerabilities that make people more susceptible to sex and labor trafficking. Those include unstable living conditions, substance abuse and economic hardship.
Additionally, Polaris says some resources aren’t currently available to victims, as some shelters can’t accept new clients and transportation has become more difficult to coordinate.
Austin non-profit SAFE says its services are still available to victims of trafficking, along with those who have been sexually assaulted or abused at this time.
At 6 on KXAN, Jacqulyn Powell will highlight resources still available in Central Texas, along with issues those trying to help are encountering.