GNWS COVID-19 Webinar Series
- Rebecca Loewen – Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, Canada
- Emily Schwartz – North Dakota Human Trafficking Task Force, USA
- Elsa Simón Ortega – Por la Superación de la Mujer, Mexico
- Joan – GABRIELA, Philippines
- Margarita Guille – Red Interameriana de Refugios, Mexico
- Ashley Slye – National Network to End Domestic Violence, USA
- Patricia Vargas – Catholic Social Services Alberta, Canada
In Canada, shelters continued to provide support with certain regulations after COVID-19, although they had to work hard to ensure people knew they were still open. Rural and remote communities were hard to reach, as well as people who have limited technology. Some shelters saw a decrease, while others saw an increase, “but we know violence hasn’t just disappeared”
Canada is now moving towards loosened restrictions, although there are still uncertainties about future funding for services.
COVID has exacerbated the situation for vulnerable people. Job losses and home isolation has put stress on relationships, leading to increased domestic violence. The lack of control and structure can also be a trigger for survivors by reminding them of when they were trafficked. Traffickers are also taking advantage of unsupervised youth as schools are closed and young people are spending more time online.
Polaris (national helpline) has seen a 40% increase in calls since March, yet many victims unable to access telehealth options for services due to lack of infrastructure (North Dakota is very rural). Emily has been focused on promoting service availability to survivors and building resilience in employees and survivors with trauma support resources
Mexico is a country that is not only the origin of a lot of migrants, but also one that migrants transit through, and receives many migrants with millions of people entering and leaving the southern border. Migrant caravans have increased. Many women who have not received their refugee status or equivalent, are vulnerable to human trafficking. Furthermore, when families sell children younger than 10, the government does not count this as human trafficking. Police forces need to be detecting human trafficking at the border, but they have not been committed to doing this and government is turning a blind eye.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has 60% increase in gender-based violence (although there is little data available). Superación de la Mujer is trying to identify these victims and provide services and legal protection for them.
The Philippine Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic involves a strict lockdown with no mass testing. The majority of filipinos cannot afford to go to the doctor or get tested.
The lockdown has restricted women’s mobility and access to urgent services and justice. Over 4,000 cases of violence against women have been reported during COVID, but the real numbers are most likely much higher. Victims of trafficking will often not report to police, as police will go after them but not after the traffickers themselves. To end trafficking, Joan believes that we need to look to root of the problem
Previous Webinar Recordings
17 June 2020: https://youtu.be/mLEICnVTMNA
3 June 2020: https://youtu.be/aymp8kklfw4
20 May 2020: https://bit.ly/GNWS_8
6 May 2020: https://youtu.be/k2h0XGANrHM
29 April 2020: https://bit.ly/GNWS_6
22 April 2020: https://bit.ly/serving_survivors
15 April 2020: https://bit.ly/GNWS_4
8 April 2020: https://bit.ly/GNWSTech
1 April 2020: https://bit.ly/316uCpk
25 March 2020: https://bit.ly/30YhOBb
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Global Network of Women’s Shelters Helpline Project
As mentioned on the webinar, GNWS is collecting the national helpline for every country so victims and their friends and family have a place to find accurate support. Even if your country doesn’t have a national helpline, we want to know! In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also asking about text, chat, and email helplines. Please take a few minutes to complete this brief form so we can continue to update our list of helplines. If you have already completed the form, thank you so much. Your information is greatly appreciated!
Forma en Español: https://forms.gle/X6Rw6hHM7Lo6SmC57
List of helplines listed on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/safety/domesticviolenceresources