May 28, 2020

STATEMENT – Instacart Sends Vital Message to Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence Victims

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation Applauds the New Resources

Washington, DC (May 28, 2020) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) applauds Instacart’s new effort to add resources for its workers who may be experiencing domestic violence or trafficking.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation alerted Instacart to COVID-19 trends where pimps and sex traffickers have been coercing victims to enter the gig economy and to hand any profits they make to their exploiters. NCOSE learned of this current tendency from direct service providers doing outreach to victims of sex trafficking across the U.S. Initially, COVID-19 quarantining seemed to reduce the demand for commercial sex, decreasing profits for these serial abusers. Despite sex buying increasing once more after the initial decline, NCOSE continues to hear that human traffickers are trying to increase their profits by pushing victims into the gig economy as well.

Instacart heard our concerns and proactively moved to address potential abuse and trafficking that its workers may be experiencing as a result of the pandemic. We are grateful for their quick actions to help,” said Dawn Hawkins, senior vice president and executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

Instacart has acted to provide resources and hotlines for victims of domestic abuse and human trafficking. Instacart has also recommended the National Center on Sexual Exploitation as a resource.

These messages and resources are potentially life-saving to victims and they are especially important during this time when the number of outreach efforts to both sex trafficking and domestic violence victims has declined due to the pandemic,” Hawkins added.

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