Letter to the UN Secretary-General on sexually exploited persons and COVID-19

Organisations fighting sex trafficking have written to UN Secretary-General António Guterres to ask that sex trafficked, prostituted and sexually exploited persons are included in the UN’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter is signed by the organisations, sex trade survivors, frontline service providers and human rights activists.

“We are calling on your office to ​establish a global fund for people exploited in the sex trade ​to enable them to access comprehensive services. Whilst the Fund would respond to immediate and short-term needs of these individuals, it would also focus on providing exit support for those who seek to leave systems of sexual exploitation.

“This Fund must be accessible to all women who are incarcerated and detained for prostitution-related charges. Finally, this Fund should support efforts, organisations or networks that, in line with international law and human rights principles, seek to address the structural inequalities that push women into prostitution rather than entrench a system where women and girls are exploited.

“The goal of the Fund should be to assist and uplift human beings who are bought and sold in the global multi-billion-dollar sex trade; not further enable their profiteers or exploiters who deem sexual exploitation as a form of labour.

“In addition, we are calling on you to ​make addressing online sexual exploitation a priority​ as part of efforts to address the impact of the pandemic.”

Read the full letter: