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Congratulations to Merlyn Quaife

Posted in June 11th, 2013


ACRATH is delighted to congratulate Merlyn Quaife for being given the award of Member of the Order of Australian in the 2103 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.  This award was bestowed on her in recognition of her significant service to music.

Merlyn has been a regular performer at St Francis’ Church, Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, for 35 years.  In 2009 she produced a music CD, Fortune My Foe,  in collaboration with Andrea Katz as a fundraising project in support of Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking of Humans.  She has also performed at concerts for ACRATH on a number of occasions.

ACRATH is very grateful for the support received from Merlyn.  In congratulating her we thank her for sharing her talents with us and wish her well for her future as a musician.

Click here for details on how to purchase a copy of the CD, Fortune My Foe.

No to Child Labour in Domestic Work

Posted in June 11th, 2013

World Day Against Child Labour June 12, 2013

This year’s annual World Day against Child Labour will put the spotlight on the plight of child labourers in domestic work.  The International Labour Organisation (ILO) will release a report entitled “Ending child labour in domestic work: Protecting young workers in domestic work from abuse and exploitation”.  The study explains that children involved in domestic work are often vulnerable to physical, psychological and sexual violence and abusive working conditions. 

The International Labour Organization and its International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), in partnership with an array of renowned conductors, musicians, musicians’ organisations and music education bodies, is launching its “Music against Child Labour” Initiative in June 2013.  The Music Against Child Labour Initiative calls for musicians, orchestras, choirs instrumentalists and singers of all genres worlwide to dedicate one concert in their planned repertoire between October 2013 and December 2014 to the struggle against child labour. For more information on this initiative click here.

Stop Trafficking!

Posted in June 11th, 2013

Anti-Human Trafficking Newsletter Vol 11 No 6

The June issue of Stop Trafficking looks at ways organisations are trying to address the Demand Issue with regard to trafficking for sexual exploitation.  It contains links to a number of websites and resources including a fact sheet that outlines how we can engage in the campaign to Stop the Demand for Human Trafficking.

Download your issue here.

ACRATH Presentation

Back Row: Roscoe Howell (Slavery Links Australia) , Mr Peter Slipper, Mr Laurie Ferguson, MP, Dr Mark Zirnsak (Director, Justice and International Mission Unit, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Uniting Church in Australia), Joan Kennedy pbvm (ACRATH), Carol Hogan sss (ACRATH), Front Row: Christine Carolan (ACRATH National Projects Coordinator), Senator Ursula Stephens, Denise Mulcahy fcJ (ACRATH)

On 8-9 May 2013 in Melbourne, the Parliamentary Human Rights Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade held a public hearing in Melbourne in connection with the inqury and report on slavery, slavery like conditions and people trafficking.  Fifty eight written submissions were received by the joint committee, and ACRATH, along with fifteen others was called to speak at the hearing in Melbourne.  An ACRATH delegation was in attendance for the entire hearing.

The Chair of the Inquiry, Laurie Ferguson congratulated ACRATH on its activity, saying that he thought ACRATH was ‘the main group’ that led the committee to holding this inquiry, based on ACRATH’s  ‘activities, your appearance before the committee at various stages and your lobbying.’   In thanking ACRATH for being in attendance he said:  ‘You said you are a miniscule organisation but you have driven this inquiry.  It says something about the receptiveness of parliament that this inquiry came out of your activity.’

Senator Stephens thanked ACRATH for ‘what is a really comprehensive submission and takes us through the breadth of potential government action’ which she thought was ‘very helpful for the committee’.

Peter Slipper congratulated ACRATH ‘on not just the complexity but the comprehensiveness’ of the submission.  He said ‘You have brought forward a series of recommendations, some of which I think the committee would be neglecting its duty if it did not take seriously enough into account.’

In her presentation on 8 May 2013, Christine Caroline, ACRATH National Projects coordinator emphasised the following points:

  • compensation for those who have been trafficked into Australia
  • negotiation for a slavery free supply chain for all goods coming into Australia
  • using a protocol of ‘human rights’ to underpin the offering of services to people trafficked into Australia

She recommended that there be a federal scheme of compensation for people who are trafficked, as the present ‘victims of crime assistance’ not only varies from State to State, but it is not compensation for the crime committed.

Attorney General Introduces New Legislation to Parliament

Attorney General Mark Dreyfus ©

On 29th May 2013 Attorney General Mark Dreyfus QC introduced new legislation to protect vulnerable witnesses and victims in Commonwealth criminal proceedings into Federal Parliament.  The legislation allows a witness the ability to give evidence by closed-circuit television, video recording or video link, and to have a support person accompany them when giving evidence.

“Prosecutions for human trafficking and slavery rely heavily on witness testimony, so it is vital that we have measures to assist victims to give their best possible evidence to the court,” said Mr Dreyfus.  “The Bill will minimise the risk of re-traumatisation these victims face when giving evidence by providing appropriate support and protections.   Read more…

Pope Francis Speaks Against Human Trafficking

Pope Francis said human trafficking is a ‘shameful and ignoble activity’ (AP)

During a meeting with members of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travellers, who were holding their plenary assembly at the Vatican, Pope Francis commented that human trafficking is “a despicable activity, a disgrace for our societies, which describe themselves as civilised.”  He urged “exploiters and clients at every level must make a serious examination of conscience before themselves and before God.”  Pope Francis also spoke of the responsibility that Christians have to be sensitive and respond to refugees and forcibly displaced people and their experiences of “violence, abuse, being far from their family’s affection, traumatic events, fleeing their homes and being in refugee camps uncertain about their futures”. Read more…

UN General Assembly Voices Concern

© UN News

In 2010 the UN General Assembly established a Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.  A  two-day High-level Meeting of the UN General Assembly took place on 13th and 14th May.  The meeting aimed to review progress made since the adoption of the Global Plan in order to strengthen national and international efforts to end this global enterprise.  With around 25 million victims human trafficking affects every country in the world.

The meeting determined more efforts are needed to effectively combat practices of human trafficking. Almost all participants, whether from the UN system, Member States, civil society and trafficking victims, called upon countries that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Trafficking in Persons Protocol. Better data collection, victim support, law enforcement, prosecution, awareness raising campaigns, information sharing, capacity-building and coordination between countries of origin, transit and destination, as well as more resources, including for the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking, were reiterated more than once at the meeting. The latter was particularly urgent. As Saisuree Chutikul, Member of the Board of Trustees for the UN Voluntary Trust Fund, explained during one of the panel discussions, out of 193 Member States, only 12 had actually contributed to the Fund. Some countries, which had made pledges during the establishment of the Fund, had basically used empty words.  Read more…

Click on the following links to view panel discussions during the meeting:  Panel 1, Panel 2

Radio Awareness Project

Posted in May 23rd, 2013


Human trafficking, slavery, and labour exploitation happen in Australia, in our local communities.  As part of our ongoing work to end human slavery ACRATH has funded a Radio Awareness Project, The RAP.

With generous support from Anti-Slavery Australia, The RAP has produced community service announcements for radio to build awareness and provide information about human trafficking and slavery in Australia today.  The intention is to reach individuals and communities most at risk of exploitation, particularly Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) communities. 

To date the RAP has produced 14 CSAs in:

  •  Thai
  • Mandarin
  • Malay/Indonesian
  • English.

The CSAs are currently being broadcast on 3ZZZ, Melbourne Ethnic Community Radio, and North West FM in Melbourne.  We are working to increase the distribution of the CSAs to Ethnic Radio programming across Australia. 


  • Do you host a local ethnic radio program?  Would you be interested in sharing a message on anti-slavery with your audience?
  •  Or, would you be available to help by recording a scripted anti-slavery community service announcement (CSA) in your own language (other than English)?
  • We are interested in hearing ideas on generating greater awareness and information to CALD communities.

Contact:  Brigid Corcoran, ACRATH

The Scourge of Human Trafficking

Posted in May 19th, 2013

Speech made by Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York

Mr. President,

Today’s meeting presents the international community with an opportunity not only to assess the progress achieved since the adoption of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons in 2010, but also to renew our commitment to work together and to condemn with one voice the abhorrent and immoral practice of trafficking in human beings.  Read more…

The Trouble with Trafficking

Posted in May 19th, 2013

Southeast Asia’s Human Trafficking Conundrum

International Organization of Migration (IOM) Indonesia chief of mission Denis Nihill said the changing nature of human trafficking made it more difficult to tackle. “There’s been a lot of work done on the Greater Mekong Region for many years on trafficking, but it’s become more complex, as it’s now inextricably woven with labour migration, which is a much more difficult nut to crack because it is less easy to detect than trafficking linked to the sex industry.”  Nihill also pointed to the difficulties of tackling internal trafficking.

A 2012 UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report on human trafficking recorded more than 10,000 cases of trafficking in persons in South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific between 2007-2010, but it is unclear what the situation is today.

“Nobody has been able to convincingly demonstrate the scale of the problem, let alone come up with clear ways of how to address it,” Sverre Molland, a lecturer at the Australian National University in Canberra who specializes in human trafficking, told IRIN, humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Read more… 

(C) 2011 ACRATH Inc - Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans