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A Matter of Taste

Posted in April 13th, 2016
by ACRATH

The Impact of Certification SystemsA matter of taste

Since 2000 the world has been aware of the scandal of children being trafficked to harvest and produce cocoa in West Africa. In 2001 the global chocolate industry publically acknowledged the use of forced, child and trafficked labour in their operations and signed a collective agreement – the Harkin-Engel Protocol – to eliminate it from their supply chains. Campaigning organisations started to see changes in line with this commitment when they began engaging the issue in earnest from 2007. The ask of the campaigners was for the industry to implement third party, independent auditing of farms and cooperatives at one end of the supply chain and on-product labelling for the consumer to know steps were being taken for their favourite chocolates to be “traffik-free”.
Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ have such certification systems. Their standards are set independently and their auditing processes are undertaken independently by third-parties. They then offer on product labelling for communicating with consumers at point of sale.

Over the years many people have asked how good this system is, what it actually achieves and how the three certifications differ. A Matter of Taste, a report produced through the work of STOP THE TRAFFIK, Baptist World Aid Australia and World Vision Australia, looks at the impact of certification systems in eliminating human trafficking in the cocoa industry. Read more…

 

Stop Trafficking!

Posted in March 31st, 2016
by ACRATH

Stop TraffickingAnti-Human Trafficking Newsletter Vol 14 No 3

The March 2016 issue of Stop Trafficking highlights the negative impact of pornography in society, leading to the furthering of human trafficking. This issue also includes an article entitled” Challenges for Trafficking Survivors: Financial Stability and Housing.” While this article refers to the situation in the US, the challenges it describes are not uncommon in other countries. Download the March issue here.

Myanmar Garment Makers

Posted in March 31st, 2016
by ACRATH

OxfamFrom Sweatshop to Switzerland

A recent Oxfam survey has revealed exploitation of workers in Myanmar’s garment industry. Reflecting on his reent visit to Myanmar Oxfam’s Head of Global Campaigns, Max Lawson, writes:

“Myanmar’s garment sector is expanding fast, now employing around 300,000 people – 90% female and mostly under-25. Daily average wages of $2.80 are not enough to survive on…almost half of garment workers are trapped in debt and have to borrow money to meet basic needs like food, medicine and transport. They work up to 11 hours a day, six days a week, rarely receiving sick pay despite this being a legal requirement. Many reported working into the night to meet impossible production targets, on one occasion sewing until 6.30am before restarting at 7.30am every day for a week. Safety was a big concern, with one in three reporting a workplace injury and many afraid of factory fires because of blocked exits.”

In the week Oxfam representatives visited Myanmar an Oxfam’s report, ‘An Economy for the 1%’, caused a stir at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, revealing that 62 billionaires now own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world. The report shows that the global economic system is skewed in favour of the top 1%, who have seen half of the total increase in global wealth in the past 15 years, while the bottom 50% have had to make do with just 1%. Read more…

Remember the slavesCelebrating Heritage and Culture

For over 400 years, more than 15 million men, women and children were the victims of the tragic transatlantic slave trade, one of the darkest chapters in human history.

Every year on 25 March, the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade offers the opportunity to honour and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. The International Day also aims at raising awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today. The theme of this year’s observance is Remember Slavery: Celebrating the Heritage and Culture of the African Diaspora and its Roots.

In his message to mark this day UN Secretary of State Ban Ki-moon comments:
“It is imperative that we work together for equal opportunity, justice and sustainable development for people of African descent.  That is why the United Nations Remember Slavery Programme is reaching out to young and old alike to create awareness, promote understanding and change attitudes…The dynamic culture and traditions of Africa continue to enrich life in the countries that were once involved in the Transatlantic slave trade…Tested to the limits of their spirit and endurance, slaves from Africa left their descendants a wide range of invaluable assets, including fortitude, courage, strength, tolerance, patience and compassion.  On this Day, let us renew our resolve to fight racism and celebrate the heritage of Africa that enhances societies around the world today.” Read more…

 

 

Australia’sAustralia's International Strategy Commitment to Being a Regional Leader

Australia’s International Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking and Slavery was launched in Bali on Wednesday 23rd March 2016 by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. The documents states:
“To better realise the vision of Australia as a regional leader in combating human trafficking and slavery, this strategy will amplify the impact of Australia’s international efforts by:
1. setting strategic priorities for our engagement;
2. enhancing our leadership and coordination; and
3. enhancing our advocacy, to promote regional and international cooperation in response to human trafficking and slavery.

The strategy also announces the change of title of Australia’s Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues, to Ambassador for People Smuggling and Human Trafficking. The Ambassador will continue to advocate for enhanced international cooperation, and the new title further highlights Australia’s commitment to tackling this serious crime.

The work of Sister of Mercy and ACRATH member, Angel Reed Ph D, is acknowledged in this document. Angela and her colleague,Marietta Latonio, a Filipino social worker,  have recorded the experiences of women who have been trafficked into Cebu in the Philippines in their publication “I Have a Voice.” Read more…

GennyACRATH Member Speaks of Human Trafficking

To mark the occasion of International Women’s Day the Office of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, in Canberra, hosted a Women’s Breakfast event at which Sr Genny Ryan OSU was asked to speak about the work of Genny RyanACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans).

Approximately 35 women attended this event.  Their commitment to eliminating Human trafficking was evident by their willingness to join in a campaign to write to Michael Keenan MP (Minister for Justice) asking the Australian Government to take active measures towards the elimination of Human trafficking in Australia.

#traffikfree Easter Eggs

Posted in March 22nd, 2016
by ACRATH

Ethical Symbols2Join the Campaign Against Child slavery

Are you finding it difficult to find #traffikfree Easter eggs? Why bother looking for them?

In Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa, children and young people are still trafficked and forced to harvest cocoa in order to supply our loved Easter chocolate. Choosing to buy Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ labeled products tells us steps have been taken to prevent and disrupt this abuse.

In 2016 some stores have increased their range of certified products, particularly their private label products. However, supplies are still limited. Join in the campaign to urge companies to release a timetabled plan to STOP THE TRAFFIK (australia@stopthetraffik.com.au) to achieve 100% of the Easter products they stock being certified and labeled, by 2020. Read more…

Click here (and scroll down the page) to sign the petition asking Wesfarmers (Coles, Target and Kmart) and Woolworths (Woolworths and Big W) to increase their certified range in 2017.

Child-Slaves Dig Coltan

Posted in March 22nd, 2016
by ACRATH

coltanColtan – Key Element in Electronic Equipment

Coltan stands for Columbite Tantelite, an ore containing a mix of niobium and tantalum. It is the key element in mobile phones, DVD players, laptops, hard drives, and the PS3 – essentially almost any piece of home or industrial electronic equipment. The Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC] (formerly Zaire) is extremely rich in Coltan reserves. With rebel warlords mining and selling Coltan to finance the civil war, with the majority of illegally mined Coltan sold to China, the second Congo war has claimed over 5.4 million lives. It is estimated that 2-million child-slaves work from sunrise to sunset to dig Coltan by hand from the soil. Every day hundreds of thousands of Congolese child-slaves are forced to crawl into underground mines on their hands and knees to dig for the essential raw material to make the electronic gadgets listed above. Read more…

Talitha Kum Declaration

Posted in March 22nd, 2016
by ACRATH

Networking Against Human Trafficking

Talitha Kum logoTalitha Kum is an international network of Consecrated Life against trafficking in persons. ACRATH is a member of the Talitha Kum network. Working as a network facilitates collaboration and the interchange of information between consecrated men and women in 70 countries. Talita Kum is an expression that is found in the Gospel of Mark (5, 41).  The words, translated from the Aramaic mean “Little Girl, I say to you, arise.” In January 2016 the second international coordination meeting of Talitha Kum was convened by the International Union of Superiors General, through the coordinator of the Talitha Kum project, Sr. Gabriella Bottani, SMC.  The aim of the meeting was to define the priorities of Talitha Kum and to formulate a strategic plan for the three years 2016-2018. The Talitha Kum declaration can be accessed here.

March Banners_Step It Up_ENInternational Women’s Day 2016

The 2016 theme for International Women’s Day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”. The United Nations observance on 8 March will reflect on how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals. It will equally focus on new commitments under UN Women’s Step It Up initiative, and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights.

“On this International Women’s Day, I remain outraged by the denial of rights to women and girls – but I take heart from the people everywhere who act on the secure knowledge that women’s empowerment leads to society’s advancement. Let us devote solid funding, courageous advocacy and unbending political will to achieving gender equality around the world. There is no greater investment in our common future,”says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message for International Women’s Day 2016.  Read more… 

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