With much of the world coming to a halt from the abrupt effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, safe distancing is now the new normal—affecting all kinds of businesses, from big malls, restaurants, to bars, down to the dingiest brothels.
The government of the Philippines has imposed protocols that limit movement to essential services. Focus is shifted on keeping the people safe and healthy inside their homes. Yet despite limitations, Child Rescue acknowledges the resilience of some pimps to continue their business, more underground now than ever.
Change of Strategy
Bars, clubs, and brothels are forced to shut doors since the implementation of the community quarantine in March. Red-light districts that were once littered with vivid neon signs, brimming with locals and tourists, are now dark and deserted.
Pimps have become more elusive, only entertaining trusted customers and people who have been endorsed to them. This raises the stakes for Destiny Rescue operatives as most of the transaction is done through text and phone calls – no reading body language or using ‘good time’ social settings to smooth things over.
Once the deal is made, the next roadblock is the case of finding a location where the supposed sexual exploitation is to take place. Pimps nowadays are a lot more careful and will only arrange for a meet-up at locations where they have total control. In a recent case in the Philippines, the pimp has requested for the operatives to meet the girls at a motel owned by the pimp’s friend.
New Protocols in Shelters
The challenge ensues even after the girls have been rescued from trafficking and the pimps detained. Most rescue shelters are now requiring more documentation prior to intake of the newly rescued girls – this includes a more-detailed medical certificate and the result of a COVID-19 swab test.
Adjusting to the “New Normal”
This pandemic has certainly made our efforts more difficult but we will not let this stop us. It may feel as though we are walking on shifting sands with the government and partner agencies changing protocols almost every few days but our resolve remains steadfast. Knowing that our donors and supporters are standing with us – and have us in their prayers – helps us navigate through the uncertainties and risks of rescuing sexually exploited children in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Your gift during this time of unprecedented challenges will rescue kids and help them stay free.
Together we can ensure that rescue remains relentless.