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Advocacting in the Australian Parliament

Posted in December 4th, 2013

ACRATH Raises Issues with Government

108 croppedFrom 18th – 21st November  ACRATH visited members of the Australian Parliament in Canberra.  During our visit we congratulated Parliament on passing the legislation, Crimes Legislation Amendments (Slavery, Slavery-like Conditions and People Trafficking) Act 2013.  ACRATH advocated for a federal compensation scheme for victims of human trafficking, asked the Australian Government to ensure our Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) reaches 0.5% of our Gross National Income (GNI) by 2015, and 0.7% by 2020 and asked the government to ensure that the supply chain of goods brought into Australia is slave-free.

We took the unusual step of advocating for funding for our own organisation.  Over the last six years ACRATH has been grateful for the grant it has received from the Federal government.  The grant comes to an end on 30th June 2014 and at this stage there is doubt as to whether there will be any further funding.  A number of MPs agreed to contact the Attorney General and the Minister for Justice in support of our funding request.

To download a newsletter on ACRATH’s advocacy visit to Federal Parliament click here.

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

Posted in December 2nd, 2013

“End Modern-Day Slavery and Servitude”

ilo-campaignThe International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December, marks the date in 1949 of the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.

The focus of this day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.

Almost 21 million women, men and children around the world are still victims of slavery and forced labour. They are trapped in jobs into which they were coerced or deceived and which they cannot leave. More than half of them are women and children. Children alone account for more than a quarter of today´s slaves.

In his message for the 2013 International Day for the Abolition of Slavery UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said “…[I]t is vital that we give special consideration to ending modern-day slavery and servitude which affects the poorest, most socially excluded groups – including migrants, women, discriminated ethnic groups, minorities and indigenous peoples.”

Methods & Motivations

A.I.C.The latest Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice published by the Australian Institute of Criminology reports on human trafficking and slavery offenders in Australia.  The report indicates that “between 2004 and 2012, there were 346 investigations and assessments by the Australian Federal Police of suspected cases of human trafficking, slavery and slave-like practices such as sexual servitude and forced labour. Forty-six individuals were referred by police for assessment for prosecution under the Criminal Code (Attorney General’s Department personal communication 2 January 2013), with 15 people convicted. At the time of writing, there were three prosecutions before the courts and one of these was an appeal from a lower court conviction (Attorney General’s Department personal communication 2 January 2013). Most convictions have been for slavery offences. The high numbers of investigations compared with convictions highlights the complexity of investigations and prosecutions for this crime type.”  This document deepens our understanding of why convicted offenders were motivated to commit the crimes of human trafficking and slavery and how they exercised control over their victims.

Download a copy of the report here.

Eliminate Violence Against Women

Posted in November 24th, 2013

Up to 70% of Women Experience Violence in Their Lifetime

Eliminate Violence Against Women

In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Violence against women takes many forms – physical, sexual, psychological and economic. These forms of violence are interrelated and affect women from before birth to old age. Some types of violence, such as trafficking, cross national boundaries. Women who experience violence suffer a range of health problems and their ability to participate in public life is diminished. Violence against women harms families and communities across generations and reinforces other violence prevalent in society. Violence against women also impoverishes women, their families, communities and nations.

Read the UN Secretary-General’s message for the 2013 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women here.

Thank You Rivers

Posted in November 17th, 2013

riversRivers Signs the Cotton Campaign Pledge

It is with great delight that we announce that Australian owned company Rivers has signed the Cotton Campaign pledge. In signing the pledge they become the 140th label to do so. They are committing to working to ensure that forced child and adult labour does not find its way into their products. They are stating their firm opposition to the use of forced child or adult labour in the harvest of Uzbek cotton.  We congratulate Rivers on taking this stand against forced labour.  In thanking Rivers we also thank the many ACRATH supporters who participated in the Rivers campaign.

For more information about the cotton pledge click here.

Stop Trafficking!

Posted in November 17th, 2013

Stop TraffickingAnti-Human Trafficking Newsletter Vol 11 No 11

The November issue of Stop Trafficking reports on the recent Vatican meeting on human trafficking called by Pope Francis.  Stop Trafficking includes a synopsis of the various talks given during the meeting including that of Australian Professor Anne T Gallagher.  Her paper was entitled “Ending Impunity, Securing Justice and Preventing Exploitation:  Human Rights and Human Dignity in the Fight Against Trafficking.”

Download the November issue here.

First Talitha Kum Asia Policy Conference

Posted in November 7th, 2013

ACRATH Members to Attend

Talitha KumThree ACRATH Members, Brianna Lee, Kathy Fagan and Noelene Simmons will attend the first Talitha Kum Asia Policy Conference.  Talitha Kum was organized by the UISG (Union of International Superiors General) as an international network of religious against trafficking in persons. The Asian subgroup is having a conference to analyze the implementation of laws and policies to identify issues and gaps; to learn advocacy strategies; and to set future direction for the group. The event (to be held November 10-14 in the Salesian Retreat House in Hua Hin, Thailand) has attracted 45 religious women from 16 Asian countries, who are already involved in counter-trafficking work in their respective regions (which see the highest flow of trafficking in the world).

Call for World Day of Prayer Against Trafficking

Posted in November 6th, 2013


Women Religious Seek Greater Church Awareness of Human Trafficking

A Vatican seminar held 2-3 November was called by Pope Francis to investigate and discuss human trafficking.  As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis had worked closely with those fighting human trafficking.  He is keen for the church to be involved in fighting this heinous crime.

Dr. Henrietta Williams, president of the Association of Catholic Medical Practitioners of Nigeria and a presenter at the conference, explained that the Pope’s desire was to “get together a group of experts in different disciplines,” because “it’s not a problem that one country or the lawyers or the doctors or the social scientists can solve.”

During the seminar women religious ask the Pope to raise awareness in the Church about human trafficking by establishing a world day of prayer and fasting.  “The pope was very interested in our suggestion and asked us what date we would like the day to be,” Consolata Sister Eugenia Bonetti told Catholic News Service.  “We told him Feb. 8 — the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita,” a Sudanese slave who found freedom in Italy and became a nun in the late 19th century.

Read more..

Child Labour in Uzbekistan Cotton Industry

Posted in November 4th, 2013

Large Scale Forced Labour in 2013 Harvest

Cotton 2103In mid-October 2013 the Cotton Campaign released a report on the first month of the cotton harvest in Uzbekistan.  the Uzbekistan government continues “to mobilize Uzbek children and adults in one of the largest state-sponsored systems of forced labour in the world.”

“One of the most notable developments of the 2013 cotton production cycle thus far is the extent to which the Uzbek government has tried to create the impression of voluntary work in the cotton fields. In January, authorities added a clause stating consent to help with agricultural work to public-sector employment contracts, making participation in the cotton harvest a condition for employment . Leading up to and during the first month of the harvest, administrators of public institutions required their staff to sign an additional statement of consent prior to sending them to pick cotton.
As a pre-condition for school enrolment, high-school administrators required parents to sign contracts committing their children to pick cotton and required students to sign statements of their “voluntary” participation in the cotton harvest . In both instances, the students and adults affected could only avoid this “voluntary” service to the country by paying costly fees to government officials.” (Review of the first month of the 2013 Cotton Harvest in Uzbekistan by the Cotton Campaign)

Download a copy of the review here.

Three Charged with Labour Trafficking

Posted in October 29th, 2013

Three People Arrested in Sydney

Australian Federal Police have arrested and charged three members of a Filipino-Australian family for their alleged trafficking and exploitation of four young Filipino boxers.  The men had been brought to Australian on sporting visas.  They thought they were going to have professional boxing careers.  Instead they found themselves forced into a debt bondage situation, living in poor conditions with substandard food, forced into unpaid domestic work.

Division 271 of the Criminal Code criminalises the traffficking of persons in all its forms.  The offence carries a maximum prison sentence of 12 years.

Read more…

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