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Read the latest News in the fight against human trafficking

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Rana Plaza Collapse One Year On

Posted in April 13th, 2014
by ACRATH

Global Day of Action on 24th April 2014

Rana PlazaOn April 24th 2014 it will be one year since the Rana Plaza collapse in the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka.  At least 1,138 people were killed and an estimated 2,500 people were injured.  Despite emerging cracks in the building resulting in an evacuation order being issued the day before the collapse, and adhered to by the banks and shops on the lower floors, the garment workers, who produced clothing for Western firms, had been ordered to return to work on the morning of the 24th April by their managers.  Those managers declared the building safe and threatened to withhold pay for those who didn’t go back to work. Hours later the building collapsed.

In Bangladesh, dangerous factory conditions are commonplace in the clothing industry. The minimum wage is also amongst the lowest in the region.  But since the collapse, more than 130 companies have signed onto the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord including Australian companies Cotton On, Kmart, Target, Forever New, Specialty Fashion Group (incl. Katies, Millers and Rivers) Woolworths, Pacific Brands (owns Bonds, Berlei) and Pretty Girl Fashion Group.  However there are still some companies which have not signed this Accord.

You are invited to take part in a Global Day of Action on April 24th, calling on the brands and retailers whose clothes were made at Rana Plaza to pay their fair share of compensation.  Join this campaign by asking Australian Companies to sign the Accord.  To find out how click here.

Operation Against Child Trafficking and Exploitation

76 children trafficked across West Africa were recently rescued in a joint operation by Interpol and law enforcement authorities in Côte d’Ivoire.  Gendarmes, police and forestry agents targeted cacao fields and illegal gold mines  The majority of the children came from Burkina Faso and Mali.   The operation led to the arrest and sentencing of eight traffickers – five men and three women.

“Operation Nawa shows what can be achieved by coordinating resources and we would especially welcome input from industries who want to help remove child labour from their supply chains,” said Michael Moran, the Head of INTERPOL’s Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation (HTCE) unit.  Read more…

Human Trafficking: An Open Wound On Society

Posted in April 11th, 2014
by ACRATH

Combating Human Trafficking

Trafficking-Conf-2014-banner-1Pope Francis used strong words to address the Vatican conference Combating Human Trafficking held on 9th & 10th April.   “Human trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ. It is a crime against humanity.”  The conference was attended by Church representatives, law enforcement authorities and humanitarian and social workers.

During the conference a young Hungarian woman sobbed as she pleaded with police chiefs, bishops, ambassadors and politicians to work together to stop any more women being treated like her – trafficked, beaten raped, and put to work in the sex trade.

Present at the conference was Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Tony Negus.  He began his address to the conference by saying “”As you would appreciate, in fighting all types of transnational crime and terrorism, collaboration across multiple jurisdictions is a key strategy. Fighting human traffickers is no different and that is one reason why forums like this are so important. To share our experiences, both positive and negative, to learn from each other and to come up with new ideas together is a vital way that we can improve the circumstances of so many victims of this despicable crime.”  Read more…

At the conclusion of the conference police chiefs from around the world signed the Santa Marta Commitment pledging to “eradicate the scourge of this serious criminal activity, which abuses vulnerable people”.

For more information about the conference click here.

 

Combating Human Trafficking

Posted in April 5th, 2014
by ACRATH

Vatican and Law Enforcement in Partnership

1_0_721938The second international conference on human trafficking will take place on 9 and 10 April in the Academy of Sciences in the Vatican.  The theme of this conference will be “Combating Human Trafficking: Church and law enforcement in partnership.” T he Conference aims to bring police chiefs together so they can build an effective network to combat trafficking and work collaboratively with the Church. Closer collaboration will also enable joint investigations between law enforcement agencies, enabling a more co-ordinated international approach to rid the world of the scourge of its second most profitable crime.  Some 20 chiefs from police forces around the world are expected to attend, including the chiefs of Interpol, as well as those from Brazil, Australia and India, among others.  The workshop will also look at other areas where the Church can improve, particularly with raising awareness and the reintegration of human trafficking victims into society.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminister (UK) who will host the event said, “It is about practical collaboration between the Church on the ground and the law enforcement agencies in the fight against human trafficking. …there are very helpless victims, and by attending to them and their needs, we can actually make a huge contribution, with the police, to the tackling of this problem.”

Celebrating with Ethical Easter Eggs

Posted in April 4th, 2014
by ACRATH

2014-04-01-132905-SMCWell Done St Monica’s Epping

Students at St Monica’s Epping in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, encouraged by their teacher, Fadi Elbarbar, responded very enthusiastically to a session on slavery free supply chains recently conducted by Joan Kennedy pbvm from ACRATH.  Large copies of the Slavery-Free Chocolate for Easter flyer were displayed in each classroom.

This is St Monica’s Golden Jubilee year and the Principal had a surprise up his sleeve.  He was going to give each student an Easter egg as they went home for the Easter break.  Hearing about the commitment of the students to promote slavery free supply chains he knew the eggs would have to be ethical.  He purchased over a thousand ethically sourced eggs which were distributed to the students as they left for the Easter break.

Congratulations to St Monica’s College.

Finding Slavery-Free Chocolates

Posted in April 4th, 2014
by ACRATH

ALDI CHOC 2

Where Should You Look?

The hunt for slavery free Easter eggs is on!  In the last few weeks, slavery free campaigners have been out and about looking for ethically sound chocolate.  They have reported that Aldi has large stocks of UTZ certified chocolate, including a reasonably priced pack of small eggs, while Coles is selling Fairtrade rabbits for less than $2.00.

COLES RABBITS

 

Contact ACRATH and let us know what you have found.  Spread the word as widely as you can, so that slavery free chocolate starts flying off the shelves today.  This is the only way that the large supermarket chains will be encouraged to source slavery free chocolate exclusively not just at Easter but throughout the entire year.

Lured by a Job,Trapped in Forced Labour

Posted in April 4th, 2014
by ACRATH

ILO Animated Video on Forced labour

The ILO (International Labour Organisation) reports that almost 21 million people are victims of forced labour – 11.4 million women and girls and 9.5 million men and boys.  But how does this happen?   The ILO recently released an animated clip,  Lured by a Job, Trapped in Forced Labour, which depicts several conditions of forced labor, including misleading recruitment practices, harmful working conditions, substandard living conditions, in-kind payment, and passport confiscation. Forced labour is one motive for human trafficking and even individuals who voluntarily seek work may still be victims of trafficking if, for example, they face deceptive recruitment, endure overly restrictive work or living conditions, or are unable to leave their employer due to threat or penalty.

We Want Traffik Free Chocolate

Posted in April 4th, 2014
by ACRATH

Nestle_what_are_you_doing

Message for Mondelez

Mondelez end child trafficking in your chocolate by setting a public deadline to certify your entire chocolate range.  Other global chocolate companies have made a commitment to have their entire chocolate range certified by 2020.  When will  Mondelez make a public commitment to reduce the risk of child trafficking in their cocoa supply chains?

You can help deliver a message to Mondelez.

  • Join the campaign to ask Mondelez for chocolate certified free of child slavery.  STOP THE TRAFFIK invite you to write questions you would like to ask Mondelez. Click here to do so.
  • Sign the petition requesting Mondelz to set a public deadline for certifying their entire chocolate range
  • Join the THUNDERCLAP which will take place on 17th April and invite all your twitter followers to Join the Thunderclap too.  Click here.

Protecting the Girl Child

Posted in April 4th, 2014
by ACRATH

Using the Law to End Child, Early and Forced Marriage

Protecting the Girl childEquality Now, in partnership with TrustLaw Connect and Latham & Watkins LLP, carried out a sample survey of the legal position on child marriage and some of the interconnected issues in 18 sample countries. Child marriage is practised across the globe.

The sample country reports look at not only the pure legal provisions relating to age of marriage, but also the extent to which they have been enforced, if at all, and the law and practice of some related issues including laws relating to bride price/dowry; statutory rape laws that are circumvented through marriage; availability of child protection services when escaping child marriage; legal requirements for registration of birth and/or marriage; and, schooling for girls. They also identify the intersection between child marriage and other social and legal issues, such as gender-based violence, human trafficking, exploitation, nationality, FGM, force feeding, etc.

Download a copy of the report here.

Law to Take Effect in June 2014

law2After being signed into law at the end of March, American Samoa’s new anti-human trafficking laws will come into effect in June.  Acting Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga said the legislation will allow the government to investigate and prosecute those who would exploit others.  He also said, “There have been human trafficking cases in American Samoa recently, and the victims haven’t been limited by age, gender, ethnicity, nationality or village.”   The law also mandates that a human trafficking task force collect data, and recommend policies and procedures.

The new law makes human trafficking punishable by five to ten years in prison, with ten years being mandatory for trafficking a minor.  Advocates for victims of human trafficking welcome the new law saying it will raise awareness about behaviour that may be identified as human trafficking.

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