Supporting the Most Vulnerable During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Restore NYC



In the midst of this public health crisis, vulnerabilities and the risk of exploitation are increasing. We’re doubling down on efforts, re-thinking our program strategy, and relying on the Restore community to keep freedom real for survivors of sex trafficking. 

Restore NYC serves immigrant survivors of sex trafficking in New York City (NYC), many of whom have experienced devastating impact since NYC’s stay-at-home order went into effect in March 2020. Many have lost their jobs, have new health challenges, and cannot access other forms of relief. In the three weeks after the order, our program staff reported over 800 touchpoints with clients in need of basics like food and the internet.  

This pandemic could be devastating for the women we serve. Increased vulnerabilities lead to increased risk of re-trafficking. Our partners at Polaris Project discuss how COVID-19 May Increase Human Trafficking in Vulnerable Communities

That’s why we’re doubling down on our efforts, re-thinking our program strategy, and relying on the Restore community to keep freedom real for survivors of sex trafficking.


  • Eighty percent of survivors we serve report that they have lost their jobs compared to the national average of 14%, and there are significant challenges to access healthcare and government relief efforts.

  • Survivors report that health (citing COVID-19 explicitly) and employment are the top safety concerns for them, greater than fear of their traffickers.

  • Mid-term work prospects for survivors are grim, since many survivors hold low-skill jobs in service industries such as in restaurants, which have been highly impacted from an economic perspective.

  • Survivors have limited technology fluency. This leads to additional barriers to education and work opportunities, as well as added stress from the responsibility of helping their children with online schooling.


  • Remote services: We adapted quickly to provide essential phone and video sessions for counseling, case management, and economic-empowerment services to survivors during modified hours, including on weekends. 

  • Direct, in-person services: Our Safehome is still open and fully operational. We continue to meet clients in person, following social distancing guidelines and only as needed for emergency situations and referrals. We’re ensuring that all who reach out to Restore find safety and receive emergency housing, food, and essentials.

  • Cash assistance: The Restore community is meeting the most requested need of survivors at the moment, cash assistance. Thanks to your gifts to the COVID-19 Relief & Stabilization Fund, we believe that through the end of April 2020, 100% of the women we serve will be safe and stable. We’ve opened up the fund so that Restore supporters can now easily share this need and opportunity with your networks, as many in our communities are wondering how to tangibly help vulnerable communities.


With the longer-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic becoming more clear, we at Restore NYC are entering into a new season. We’ve heard reports that sex trafficking is shifting as a result of the pandemic and economic crises. We know that we must evolve our program strategy to meet the changing needs of trafficking survivors and victims. We focus now on a three-stage model: relief, recovery, and rebuild. 

Though timing is uncertain and subject to change, our team is using this framework as we deliver client care and think about the future.

  • Relief (approximately twelve weeks): We’re ensuring that clients are safe and stable amidst significant loss of employment and health challenges.

  • Recovery (approximately eight months): We’ll support clients as they navigate a new economy and public health system, focusing on access to safe housing, safe jobs, and counseling services. 

  • Rebuild (approximately nine months): We’ll support clients in redefining their lives holistically, with attention to long-term impact in housing, jobs, and well-being. 


In 2019, 92% of the survivors we served were sustainably free from trafficking. Even with the challenges of COVID-19, we’re determined to keep freedom real for these women and many more coming to Restore for services. Here’s how you can help. 

  • Raise awareness. Invite your networks to join you in standing with survivors for the duration of this pandemic. Be a fundraiser to provide immediate cash assistance to survivors by clicking here

  • Give to Restore NYC. Your donation supports our program services to help survivors of trafficking here in NYC fight for security in food, housing, jobs, transportation, childcare, medical care, and their future. To give, click here.

  • Offer jobs. We’re in need of additional business partners with open positions for hire. Please contact our Director of Economic Empowerment, Sandra Diaz, at if you can help. 

  • Send essential food and supplies. We’re welcoming in-kind donations, including cleaning supplies, food, and meals for the Safehome, as well as laptops for women in our Economic Empowerment program as they work remotely on job preparation. Please contact Jenna Conarroe, Manager of Volunteers & Trainings, at if you can help. 

  • Stay connected. Click here for ways to stay in touch. Join us as we come together to pray and share information, hope, and additional opportunities to help.

Thank you for partnering with us to keep freedom real!