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Citizens report COVID-19 corruption

In 2020, more than 1,800 people contacted our Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres to report corruption and seek support for issues related to COVID-19.

Illustration by Sheyda Sabetian

Too often, ordinary citizens are victims of corruption. They face demands for bribes to see a doctor or file a police complaint. And it is typically those who are least able to pay a bribe who suffer most.

Those seeking justice at our ALACs often do so as a last resort. Too often, government channels are ineffective or even unsafe for reporting corruption and those who have committed wrongdoing go unpunished. Our job is to give these people hope and support them to speak up safely. Corruption will only stop when we work together to change the system.
Alison Matthews ALAC Programme Lead

It's no different during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has had and will continue to have a major impact on people's health and well-being. But while policymakers play a crucial role in ending corruption, citizens also have a voice.

How we can help

Since January 2020, Transparency International’s Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres (ALACs) supported more than 1,800 people who contacted us to report corruption and seek assistance for issues related to COVID-19.

Operating in more than 60 countries, ALACs encourage and support people to safely report corruption, access public information and demand transparent, responsive, and accountable government institutions.

What are people reporting?

Our analysis of citizens' reports shows several common areas where people suffer most: humanitarian aid, police corruption and health care. In addition, our research shows that women are particularly vulnerable to the corruption risks associated with COVID-19.

Although cases vary by country, many citizens report police corruption with border control and quarantine measures, while others report bribery across health systems, from patients to doctors alike.

Still others report corruption based on gender or distribution of humanitarian and economic aid.

Stories in illustrations

Speak up. We listen.

Don’t let barriers get in your way of speaking up. If you don’t know your rights or the law, or don’t trust the institutions in your area to properly handle your complaint, check if there is an ALAC in your country that can help.

Corruption will only stop when people work together to change the system. Reporting corruption is one of the most effective ways to affect change and assert your rights.

Fight corruption with us

Together, we can ensure COVID-19 funds and services reach those who need them most. Now, more than ever, we must remain vigilant in the face of corruption. You can help us.

Specifically, we need your help to ensure COVID-19 test kits are not sold to the highest bidder, front-line health workers have sufficient protections and can safely speak out against wrongdoing, and quarantine measures apply to everyone, not just those who are willing or able to pay bribes.

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