Sexual exploitation is a tragedy whenever and wherever it occurs. One of the pernicious realities of sexual exploitation is that it does not stop, not even during a global health crisis like the novel coronavirus pandemic of 2020. Not only do sexually exploitative industries, companies, and individuals not stop during crisis, they often try to leverage the ills of a crisis to further their exploitative work. During the time of crisis and uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation is hard at work and continuing to fight on behalf of those vulnerable to sexual exploitation. We are committed and determined to ensuring that the safety of victims and the vulnerable and the momentum of the movement to end sexual exploitation are not lost in the noise and the chaos.
Accordingly, we have doubled down on providing important safety information and resources for parents. As more children will now be at home on their digital devices and social media platforms due to COVID-19 shutdowns, we know that more predators will flock to the platforms that are popular with kids. We recently rolled out an awareness campaign for parents to take protective measures for their children as they spend more time online. We also continue to have dialogue regarding crucial child safety protections with the corporations behind popular apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok.
We are also advocating for—and positioning you to advocate for—resources for individuals placed in vulnerable positions due to economic hardship. Across the globe, the coronavirus had led to many sectors of the economy stalling and this in turn is leaving many individuals economically vulnerable. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation is doing everything we can to ensure that those who are at high risk of being sexually abused in the sex trade have the resources they need in this moment.
You may have heard that the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center recently filed its first lawsuit. In early 2020, we filed a suit against Wyndham Hotels and Resorts Inc. for knowingly facilitating the sex trafficking of a 16-year-old girl. We have hope this lawsuit will bring a degree of justice to this survivor of child sex trafficking as we continue to hold corporations accountable for their actions, and our Law Center’s important work will continue to move forward during this time.
Now more than ever, we need your support in helping build a world free from sexual exploitation. The powerful results that we are able to pursue, crisis or not, are only possible because of the dedication and support of the passionate individuals who back this important work.