As we begin to emerge from a global pandemic, research and data is not yet able to fully measure its impact on the globe. However the UN have identified a shadow pandemic, formed with emerging data and reports from those working on the frontline with evidence that women and girls experiences of violence and exploitation have increased.
This year the United Nations marks its 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence on the 25th of November until the 10th of December 2021, with its global theme set by the UN Secretary – General’s UNITE campaign is “Orange the World: “End Violence against Women Now”.
The campaign sends a clear message that the mission is to see an end to violence against women and girls, and that the need is now.
“The UK needs to criminalise men who abuse women through prostitution because its demand creates the supply. Without demand from these men, there would be no supply of vulnerable women and girls to be bought and sold.”Fiona Broadfoot
Survivor of International Trafficking and Prostitution
Women@thewell is a frontline provider of support and exiting services, based in London, supporting women, whose lives are affected by prostitution both on street and off street, including women who have been trafficked into the sex trade.
As with data from the shadow pandemic, women@thewell identified trends across support services highlighting a demographic shift in those in need of our support, supporting women who pre pandemic would not have typically experienced exposure to exploitation in the sex trade. We believe this is a direct consequence of economic disadvantage, and that the women we supported through the pandemic shine a bright light of clarity on the links already identified in the sector- between economic disadvantage and exploitation and abuse.
Our mission is to work towards full abolition of the sex trade, lobbying and campaigning around legislation that protects women. Now more than ever we believe this is the only way to keep women safe and protected. Under an abolitionist legal framework, society recognises that women are not saleable objects and should have choices, which come from a place of stability, not mere survival.
As Fiona Broadfoot, a survivor of international trafficking and prostitution says, “The UK needs to criminalise men who abuse women through prostitution because its demand creates the supply. Without demand from these men, there would be no supply of vulnerable women and girls to be bought and sold.”
Our experience delivering frontline services indicates strongly that this model, alongside provision of holistic exiting services – is essential to break down the barriers and enable women to exit prostitution. Shaping a society in which commercialised, one sided sexual gratification has no place.
The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, the only global grant-making mechanism dedicated to ending and preventing all forms of violence against women, has announced a special fundraising challenge, Give25forUNTF25, marking 25 years of grant-making to support women’s organisations around the world.We believe that female only support and advocacy services such as women@thewellplay an essential and imperative role in the fight against violence against women and girls.
During the next sixteen days, we celebrate the hard work and commitment by individuals and organisations across the globe – who advocate for change and the end to violence against women each and every day.
External Affairs Manager