Violence is increasing
In the communities we serve, the COVID-19 pandemic has had the harshest impact on vulnerable women and children, who are experiencing increased levels of violence all around the world.
Cybersex Trafficking of Children
Social isolation has increased the demand for online sex trafficking and children are being exploited while staying at home.
Violence Against Women and Children
Lockdown means that women and children who regularly face the threat of domestic violence are trapped at home with their abusers 24/7.
Slavery and Forced Labor
Loss of income and all job opportunities have left many in India vulnerable to taking small loans that hold hidden fees they will never be able to repay.
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See how we are still protecting the vulnerable in each region
IJM Uganda - Lockdowns are causing vulnerable women and children to be trapped in their homes with abusive partners, family members and caretakers. The Uganda Child Helpline received nearly 900 calls in March, and on one day in April received over 700 calls.
IJM teams are now delivering supplies to set up temporary shelters for women and children fleeing domestic violence in Uganda. We are also providing transportation to the local police so they can begin timely investigations in cases of domestic and sexual violence.
IJM Guatemala - At the beginning of the outbreak in March, the Guatemalan Public Justice System saw a dramatic decrease nationwide in reported cases of violence against women and children. It was suspected that lockdown measures, alongside public transportation closures, meant that many victims weren’t able to make it to the police station to file reports. Since then, special guidelines have been issued for how to receive and process complaints, and there's been a 35% increase in complaints related to these crimes.
Our team is supporting these efforts to reduce barriers to reporting with a hotline where complaints can be phoned in and a patrol unit will either be immediately dispatched or follow up within 72 hours.
IJM Philippines – Law enforcement officers are still detecting and finding traffickers and rescuing children who have been trafficked online, but face the risk of COVID-19 exposure as they do this essential work.
To support our partners at the Philippines Internet Crimes Against Children unit, we delivered personal protective equipment (PPE) to the law enforcement personnel.
The entire country of India is in lockdown. Thousands of migrant labourers who work in facilities and factories in the cities have returned to neighbouring villages all across the country. Without work, they have lost their daily wages and are at risk of running out of food, water, and medicine.
Six courts in different parts of Mumbai have been operational during the lockdown and called on IJM to help provide face masks and hand sanitizer to continue operating. The team was honoured to assist the courts in this way as they seek to continue ensuring justice during these times.
IJM staff and survivors with the Rescued Bonded Labor Association have been reaching out to their communities providing handwashing training, teaching them about the virus, and working with the government to provide needed food support. In Madurai, migrant workers were left stranded due to the lockdown, unable to travel back to their native states. The police noticed their vulnerable state and asked IJM to help provide groceries and disinfectant while they provided temporary shelters.
Despite the lockdown, the team has still been able to support rescue operations. Five boys were rescued from slavery at a paper-making factory in Telangana state.