Pandemic impacts human trafficking worldwide

July 15, 2021

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Although the COVID-19 pandemic shut down many aspects of our global community, human trafficking unfortunately did not stop. The annual Trafficking in Persons report, released this month by the U.S. State Department, assesses the current state of human trafficking around the world and the pandemic’s impact. 

This year’s report highlights the relationship between COVID-19 and trafficking, noting how the pandemic’s economic and social distress exacerbated the risk to vulnerable and marginalized populations. The report also called out specific concerns in the United States, such as the systemic exploitation of Black, Latinx and Asian communities with a heightened vulnerability to trafficking and the need for more prosecutors for labor trafficking incidents. 

In light of the goal to eliminate human trafficking, the report ranks each country on how it meets the Trafficking Victims Protection Act minimum standards, with Tier 1 being in compliance and Tier 3 meaning the country does not meet the standard and is not attempting to do so. Of note in this year’s report, Armenia and the Dominican Republic both improved to Tier 2, while Switzerland was downgraded to Tier 2 and Malaysia to Tier 3. View each country's ranking on this map.  

Mercy Investment Services and other shareholders use this report to address human trafficking with companies, both directly and through companies’ supply chains.