In many countries, including major producing nations such as Brazil and Colombia, workers in the coffee sector have been defined as essential workers who must continue to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent weeks, Verité has been engaging stakeholders in The Cooperation On Fair, Free Equitable Employment (COFFEE) Project to learn about the impacts COVID-19 is having on coffee farmers and farmworkers and to explore potential actions that could mitigate the effects of the pandemic on them.
Report of the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children | New Resource Maps Supply Chains for Pandemic-Fighting Products | ITUC’s Global Rights Index for 2020 Has Been Released
Verité has identified a number of factors that increase workers’ vulnerability to becoming victims of human trafficking, all of which will likely worsen during and after the COVID-19 crisis, including poverty, inequality, political instability, conflict, crime/violence, and tightening of restrictions on immigration.
As we at Verité take stock of COVID-19’s many implications for employers and supply chain actors, we particularly want to emphasize the importance of the high-level principles that companies should promote in their own operations and supply chains.
As is the case in most crises, the most vulnerable in society will feel the worst impacts of COVID-19. Children, especially those from poor communities, are at particular risk of exploitation as parents fall deeper into poverty during the ensuing economic crisis and face appalling choices about how to sustain their families.