Understanding the Impact

Human traffickers thrive during crises

Every crisis makes people more vulnerable to labor and sex trafficking because of the disruptions to daily life – whether it is the loss of a home, job or access to health care or being unable to connect with support networks of friends and co-workers. These disruptions are especially devastating to those who are already vulnerable and hanging on financially. They become desperate for any way to earn money and survive.

As one trafficking survivor said recently, “Before COVID-19, we were ‘low-wage, low-skilled’ workers, but now, we are ‘essential.’”

However, this new label, “essential,” has not resulted in better pay or job security — quite the opposite, and this is where traffickers can enter the picture.

Trends in Human Trafficking and COVID-19

  • Police and child protection reports are down
  • Risks to online exploitation higher – especially for youth
  • Traffickers isolate victims
  • Travel is restricted
  • Millions out of work
  • Economic challenges greater for women, minorities and under-resourced populations
  • Higher than average unemployment, evictions and displacements
  • Options limited if survivors are exposed to or have COVID-19
  • Justice system impacts


This program will focus on the knowledge and skills to recognize and treat human trafficking survivors in a health care setting, with a special emphasis on public health. CME/CEU to be applied for general licensure credit for physicians, nurses, social workers, marriage and family therapists, dentists, dental hygienists, and other health care professionals and human trafficking required licensure credit for nurses.



Food Chains sheds light on how Florida farmworkers are battling to defeat the $4 trillion global supermarket industry through their ingenious Fair Food program, which partners with growers and retailers to improve working conditions for farm laborers in the U.S. Their story is one of hope and promise for the triumph of morality over corporate greed. A panel of experts will follow the film featuring Dr. Mark McNease, founder of RedEye Coffee, Dr. Maria Pouncey from Panhandle Area Education Consortium (PAEC), Dr. Joseph Grzywacz and FSU Professor Terry Coonan from the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights.


Imagining Freedom Fundraiser and Culinary Tasting

The “Imagining Freedom” Fundraiser and Dinner is a casual dining event to raise awareness about both labor and sex trafficking in the Big Bend. Food stations, coordinated by Susan Turner and Food Glorious Food, will feature dishes that are slavery-free and not part of food chains that include trafficked labor. Experts will provide insights and answer questions about trafficking in our area — and beyond – and will offer concrete ways guests can help victims of human trafficking.