Gender-based violence against women rose amid COVID-19; UN

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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UN Women March
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Speaking at an online gathering on global commitment for women and girls amid the pandemic, Ghada Waly, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) opined that the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing the dangers of gender-based violence and human trafficking for women and girls. 

“In every part of the world, we are seeing that COVID has worsened the plight of at-risk women and girls, while also hindering criminal justice responses and reducing support to victims,” the UN official stated.

The UN body which is trying to make the world safer from drugs, organized crime, corruption and terrorism, revealed that women and girls were already being exposed to different forms of violence before the pandemic, and they also make up more than 60 percent of all victims of human trafficking.

UNODC reported that lockdowns and other measures executed during the pandemic have managed to create a “shadow pandemic” of rising gender-based violence.

UN Women, a global body that strives for gender equality and women empowerment the economic inequality among women is also increasing their vulnerability to trafficking and sexual violence.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women’s Executive Director remarked that most female survivors, or nearly 80 percent, are trafficked for sexual exploitation adding that “there are socioeconomic consequences when these crimes happen, but in times of pandemic, the socioeconomic impact is even deeper.”

The Executive Director of UN Women noted that “forty-seven million more women and girls will be pushed to extreme poverty because of COVID-19, but business is booming for traffickers.”

Earlier in April, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had appealed for a worldwide domestic violence “ceasefire,” urging governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the crisis.

So far, nearly 150 countries have answered the secretary-general’s call, pledging to make prevention and redress of gender-based violence a key part of their pandemic response.