Free NOLA, Inc.
Free NOLA, Inc.
Free Nola, Inc. exists to bring hope, love, compassion, and restoration to the sexually trafficked and sexually abused, who perhaps, in the eyes of society, don’t deserve it. For most of them, sexual abuse and victimization began in childhood.
COVID-19 has affected every family in our great state, in one way or another. For those individuals Free NOLA serves, the impact is real and desperate. Not only has their income been cut-off through social distancing, but it is leading many to be isolated from families and loved ones who they depend on for encouragement and a listening ear.
Many are now turning to ways that, until this pandemic hit, they would not dream of performing. Isolation does strange things to people, bringing a sense of fear into their lives. Perpetrators are keen on this economic strain and use this to their advantage, enticing them into the trap of pornography and webcam displays as a way to make ends meet.
Recently, Skimm (a newsletter which is a digest of local and world news stories) had an article about an online pornography site. The site stated, “… it’s donating 50,000 surgical masks to health care workers and first responders in New York City. And will make its premium content free for users worldwide for 30-days due to the COVID-19. The goal: to encourage people to stay home to flatten the curve and provide everyone with ‘an enjoyable way to pass the time.'”
Unfortunately, calls into hotlines, for assistance, have decreased. This decrease in support is, perhaps, in part because choices are so limited during this pandemic. Many providers have had to adjust their services, limiting access to their facilities, and doing online counseling and mentor support to protect their current residents, staff, and volunteers.
Human trafficking will not go away due to this pandemic. The unfortunate truth is that many of my colleagues nationwide have either shut their doors or laid off key staff from their facilities. These closures cause yet another gap in much-needed services for the vulnerable populations – the very ones who need our help.
We all need to work together to make a difference in these lives that are so precious.
To find out more information, please visit our website at www.freenola.org.