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The Impact of COVID -19 for Victims of Modern Slavery

The impact of COVID -19 for victims of modern slavery

 The impact on victims of modern slavery during COVID-19 pandemic has been horrendous. Modern slavery is occurring, because the world we live in has failed to protect these vulnerable victims and ensure their rights under law enforcement legislation are protected. The reason people become victims of modern slavery is poverty. The crisis has worsened their situation. During the pandemic, farmers were struggling to find workers and this is when gang masters stepped in as they saw an opportunity where they could exploit vulnerable individuals. Support networks faced disruption, and this created an opportunity to exploit individuals without exploiters being visible. There have been increased cases in the clothing industry where individuals have been made to work long hours with no pay and no PPE. Exploiters have looked at new ways to exploit vulnerable victims. Criminals are targeting the vulnerable online as more people are staying at home. Victims of modern slavery have become even more isolated. Making it harder to be identified and be given essential help and support as they have not been able to access vital services.

However, here at ICOS we have been resilient and have adapted to meet the needs of our clients and have found new ways of engaging with them. Monika Panufnik Project worker for the Back in Control project says: “We are constantly in contact with our clients. Engaging with them to see if they are okay and if they need help and support. We have been able to do this by contacting them and building relationships via the phone and zoom. Keeping them up to date via our social media. Our office has now fully reopened and we have a dedicated team who are committed to offering clients Information, Advice and Guidance to help clients make the right decision based on their individual needs. With our support, we can help them get back in control with their lives.”

For further information please contact Michal at michal@icos.org.uk or 07596538482