The danger of gender-based violence and human trafficking has worsened as Covid-19 pandemic heightening and women and girls are locked down and locked in, according to speakers at a virtual event to strengthen global commitment on Monday.
"In every part of the world, we are seeing that Covid-19 has worsened the plight of at-risk women and girls, while also hindering criminal justice responses and reducing support to victims," said UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly, reports UN News.
She was speaking at a virtual event titled "Locked Down and Locked-in" arranged by UNODC and Nadia's Initiative with support from UN Women.
Most female homicide victims are killed by their intimate partners or other family members, according to UNODC, while women and girls make up more than 60 per cent of all victims of human trafficking.
Women's economic inequality also increases their vulnerability to trafficking and sexual violence, according to UN Women, which supports countries in their efforts to achieve gender equality.
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka reported that most female survivors, or nearly 80 per cent, are trafficked for sexual exploitation.
"There are socioeconomic consequences when these crimes happen, but in times of pandemic, the socioeconomic impact is even deeper," she said adding that 47 million more women and girls will be pushed to extreme poverty because of Covid-19.
Meanwhile, as already scant resources allocated for prevention, rescue and rehabilitation wear thin, women's health is being put on the line, said Nobel laureate Nadia Murad, UNODC Goodwill Ambassador and a survivor of ISIL terrors in Iraq.
"It is now difficult for many women to access psychological support, healthcare and safe shelter. They live in a constant state of vulnerability. For communities affected by conflict and displacement, these effects are often compounded," she told the gathering.
A set of recommendations was put forward to improve the current situation which includes providing women with universal access to social protection as well as income protection, and designating programmes for trafficking survivors as essential services.