The aim of this report is to share the findings from a project that was carried out by the International Anti-Human Trafficking Network (IAHTN), the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI) and the University of Leeds (UoL) to gather evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on the international anti-trafficking response.
It comprised two phases: the dissemination of an online survey that received 47 responses, followed up by 13 semi-structured interviews carried out online. The contribution of this research is distinctive in two main ways.
First, while there is a wide-ranging emergent literature on this topic, the main focus so far has been upon the increased vulnerabilities that COVID-19 has given rise to as well as new methods of trafficking as perpetrators adapt to changing conditions. One distinctive aspect of the research presented here is its focus on how COVID-19 has affected responses to trafficking and unsafe migration and on gathering information about effective responses to the challenges this has presented.
The second distinctive contribution of this research is its focus on how faith actors are responding to the increased pressure that COVID-19 has placed upon their anti-trafficking work. While the majority of faith actors operate just like any other professional organisation working in this area, an understanding of the distinctive features that they might bring to their work is limited, particularly at the local level (Frame 2020).
The report begins with an exploration of published reports, findings from IAHTN webinars and academic and grey literature focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on trafficking in persons. Key survey and interview findings are then highlighted, followed by a conclusion and recommendation