Interactive Dialogue with Mama Fatima Singhateh
Special Rapporteur on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children, Item 3
UN Human Rights Council
Geneva, March 1, 2021
Statement delivered by Meryn Schneiderhan
· Human traffickers take advantage of the increased economic hardship on families, restrictions on children’s movements, and curtailed social services during the pandemic to exploit children further. The Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) established a $3.5 million fund to address COVID-19’s impacts on efforts to combat human trafficking. In December, the TIP Office approved the first round of applications to receive funding, with awards beginning in March.
· Suitable activities for grantees may include helping governments identify trafficking victims in communities made more vulnerable by stay-at-home orders; assisting governments to repatriate trafficking survivors who cannot make their way home because of COVID-19 restrictions; and facilitating virtual witness testimony to support prosecutions of traffickers when the pandemic prevents the state from providing these services.
Desperate economic conditions may cause families to have their children engage in child labor, including those involving sexual exploitation. What can be done to discourage behavior that results in children being exploited in these ways?