GAATW call for the anti-trafficking movement to ‘take a step back’ during COVID-19 pandemic

Source (institute/publication)

The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) have issued a statement that urges the anti-trafficking movement to acknowledge a broader perspective on trafficking during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The statement also calls into question the opportunistic link between the widespread disruption of lives and livelihoods during the COVID-19 pandemic to trafficking and ‘modern slavery’.

Read their statement in full here.

As the crisis continues to lay bare wider inequalities (including but not limited to: access to healthcare, unemployment benefits, precarious employment, income inequality, domestic violence, and racism) GAATW have outlined a list of demands to be considered now and in the aftermath of the crisis:

  • Accessible and affordable public services, such as healthcare, child and elderly care, and social protection floors for all, including migrants regardless of status. These services should be in public control and funded through taxes.
  • Progressive taxation for high-earners, higher property tax, end to tax incentives for corporates and illicit financial flows, tax avoidance and evasion.
  • Introduction and enforcement of labour regulations in all economic sectors, increased investment in labour inspections, and an end to union-busting.
  • Punishment of xenophobic speech towards migrants, including in the media and by politicians, and promotion of accurate information about migrants and migration.
  • Recognition, valuation and redistribution of unpaid care work and promotion of gender equality and a culture of non-violence.
  • Urgent attention to the climate crisis, including through divestment from fossil fuel industries and investment in green economies.

GAATW urge friends, colleagues, brothers and sisters in the anti-trafficking movement to join other feminist and social justice movements in calling for these demands.

“Our point is that the pandemic has exposed the failings of the global economic model, which favours the rich, rejects regulation and taxation, and relies on cheap, controllable and exploitable labour.

The healthcare crisis will pass, and will likely be followed by an economic one. The anti-trafficking movement needs to look beyond its comfortable silo and join the growing demands for a system change. Anything else will only be self-serving, like a feast in time of COVID-19.”