Lock Down #2 COVID & The Vaccine Timeline

Samantha Inesta Human Rights Fellow/Founder/Executive Director BeaSister2aSister

Here we are again. We knew this was going to happen and yet we are still unable to quite figure out why we’re going backwards. Just when we thought we would taste true freedom again-the door slams shut and mocks our attempts to escape. Everyone is going though their own anxieties in their own way. For some it’s not being able to see friends and family for holidays, hangouts and parties but still have all the comforts of a home, food and a job. For most others it’s having to put off Christmas, wondering how they will eat or where they will live or how their children will go to school and when will they work again. Everyone’s worries and anxieties are validated by by their own changes in situations and circumstances, even those that seem to whine and complain while others don’t have a fraction of what some do. I know that’s hard to hear but when you’re used to having everything and then you suddenly don’t you start to question, panic and horde because the fear of having nothing is greater than the fear of societal breakdown because of a pandemic.

But there are other fears and anxieties out there that seem to be hidden from the usual governmental rebellion. These are the hidden, forgotten and abused. These are the GBV (Gender Based Violence) and sex trafficking victims that have been on lock down since this thing started. When states issued the stay at home order rates of domestic violence skyrocketed with police stations and law enforcement all across the country receiving a record number of calls for help. Some got the resources that they needed but many others did not because trying to get to a phone or outside of their captivity meant their life-literally. The reality is much darker for sex trafficking victims who are on watch night and day while forced to continue knowing that at any point in time they can contract the virus. Sex buyers will patronize these women and girls with all types of STDs and viral infections, some will even be HIV positive so it’s not impossible that they will come in with COVID and spread it. There are no protections, no PPE no COVID tests, nothing just women and girls coerced and forced to be victims of trafficking and COVID.

The woman that is locked up with her abuser whether it’s her boyfriend or her husband and by the way they can also double as traffickers, has an ongoing nightmare scenario. She is his punching bag his domestic slave his sex toy and bullied victim all at once. She can be thrown out of the house for any reason with no PPE and told that if she gets sick she will not be let back in the home, even if her children are there. Her abuser will take care to wear a mask and protect himself but he cares nothing for her life. He will use the pandemic as another weapon to control her in order to “keep her in line”. Because there is a stay at home order the beatings can be non stop with no room to breathe and no one that will hear her pain. Being kept inside means no one sees the bruises, the blood or the abuse. His hands are always clean and sanitized and it’s not for the reasons you think. Is this too graphic? Yes. It’s supposed to be. People must see beyond what is in the news media and government. These are the issues that are buried, not in the top 5 headlining stories. This is the original pandemic that came to our shores decades before AIDS, N1H1, SARS, Ebola and COVID. This is a disease of society, cultural norms and the standing of women and girls in this country and after all these years no one even dared to make a vaccine for it.

We have now rounded the corner for a roll out of vaccines in the coming days. Pfixer and Moderna have diligently put together and are satisfied that the vaccine they have produced is good and will stop the spread. Astrazeneca and Johnson & Johnson are next in line. We all know the progress of how it will be decimated and nobody is disputing that but one has to wonder how victims of GBV and sex trafficking will get access to the vaccine. Will it be used against them, to control them to threaten them with early death if they don’t comply with the abuser/trafficker? How can we know that this most vulnerable group second to elderly and people with preexisting conditions will get vaccinated. How do we get them out of their situation first? Don’t try to find out if congress is deliberating this issue or putting it in the stimulus package or economic plan because you won’t find anything. Everyone deserves to have a stable home, food , a job as well as basic necessities like healthcare and education and a safe environment to live in. During these difficult and uncertain times where anxiety, anger and hopelessness has become a way of life the government must stand up and help the people-ALL the people, even the ones that are not seen.

We are living in a world that has turned upside down and for some of us that means every man or woman for themselves. Our government is preoccupied with petty divisions and satiating the appetites of the rich. But open your eyes and look deeper, check on the women in your neighborhood, even if you don’t really know them. The one time you introduce yourself and ask them if they need anything could be the time you save their life.

Thank you for reading!!! If you like this blog please share it & spread the word!! W.A.R. is part of BeaSister2aSister an 501(c)3 non profit dedicated to helping women and girls who are survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, exploitation & abuse break the cycle of inter-dependency and come into a life of full independence and self sustainability. If you would like to contact us or make a donation to our work you can visit our website at http://www.beasister2asister.org & click the donate button. You call also send us an email at info@beasister2asister.org.

We so excited to share that we will be having a new podcast coming in 2021 on Anchor.com called Global Sisters where there will be discussions on human trafficking and the broader human rights issues that are affecting populations all over the world. We hope you tune in!