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Read the latest News in the fight against human trafficking

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Papua New Guinea Flag 2Laws take effect May 2014

With the help of the International Organisation for Migration(IOM), new legislation relating to human trafficking has been developed in Papua New Guinea.  The new legislation will come into effect in May 2014.  This legislation criminalises all forms of human trafficking and will target criminal engaged in trafficking people into, out of and within PNG. George Gigauri, chief of mission for the IOM in PNG, said “Trafficking has many elements to it. It is a very complex process. We obviously will try to battle all aspects of it…I would stop short of saying that this is something that happens everywhere because we don’t have the data to prove that yet. But we do have a very good reason to believe that there is a lot of exploitation going on at certain camps, mining sites and areas where there are significant gatherings of people.”  Papua New Guinea is currently not a signatory to the Palermo Protocol.  It is hope the implementation of the new legislation will be the first step in a process that will lead to the eventual signing of this protocol against organised crime which includes trafficking. Read more…

Rana Plaza One Year Anniversary

Posted in April 24th, 2014

Fashion Revolution Day

Rescue operations at the Rana Plaza building.On 24th April 2014, the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza Collapse in Bangladesh which killed at least 1,138 people were killed and injured an estimated 2,500 people, some fashion designers in Australia will be wearing their clothes inside out to indicate that they know where their clothes come from.  They are using the anniversary to draw attention to the proliferation of sweatshops and inhumane conditions for workers in those garment factories in place like Bangladesh.  Do you know where your clothes come from?  Read more…

Meanwhile victims of the Rana Plaza Collapse are just beginning to receive payments from a compensation fund set up by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).   They are being paid 50,000 taka ($US640) each as an advance against their claims.  Meanwhile the ILO has criticised retailers for their “woefully inadequate” contributions to the Fund.  “They share a collective responsibility for this profoundly unsustainable production model and its hazards,” said Jyrki Raina, general secretary of the global labour group, IndustriALL.

On this day let us remember all who lost their lives and those who have been left maimed or scared for life because of this horiffic tragedy, a tragedy that should not have happened.  Let us honour the victims  by pledging our support to campaigns that call for fashion companies to sign the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord.

Fighting Against Human Trafficking

Posted in April 24th, 2014

US State Department & US Catholic Bishops’ Conference Collaborate

At the annual meeting of the US President’s Interagency Task Force To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons on 8th April 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that “the State Department is planning to work with the Conference of Catholic Bishops in order to map and coordinate the Church’s efforts on a global basis to be able to combat this crime…This partnership, we hope, is going to make it a lot easier for people to be able to share information, share best practices, identify caregivers and advocates, and it will ramp up our capacity around the world to be able to identify victims and get them the help that they need.”  

This commitment was made soon after President Obama and Secretary Kerry returned from a visit with Pope Francis.  Secretary Kerry was struck by Pope Francis words when he said “when any man, woman, or child is enslaved anywhere it’s a threat to peace, justice, and human dignity everywhere.”   Read more…

Giving a Voice to the Voiceless

Posted in April 15th, 2014

Year 12 Student Supports the Work of ACRATH

Marie-Claire (Vic)

As part of her Yr 12 Religion Assessment at Penola College Broadmeadows,  Marie-Claire Charchar chose to investigate the work of ACRATH.  Prior to undertaking this assignment she had no idea that human trafficking occurred in Australia.  She writes, “I realised that the real issue is that the victims of this crime are not being heard, thus I immediately decided that I needed to take part in “giving a voice to the voiceless” together with ACRATH.”   Marie-Claire put her thoughts into action by setting up a stall on behalf of ACRATH at the Glenroy festival.  She spent a Sunday morning in April handing out brochures and telling people about the atrocious crimes that are happening in their nation, a 1st world country.

Marie-Claire you are an inspiration.  Thank you for supporting the work of ACRATH but more importantly for “giving a voice to the voiceless.”  Read Marie-Claire’s own account of her experience here.

Stop Trafficking!

Posted in April 15th, 2014

Stop TraffickingAnti-Human Trafficking Newsletter Vol 12 No 4

The April 2014 issue of Stop Trafficking highlights how fair trade helps prevent human trafficking.  Learn the difference between Free Trade and Fair Trade.  You can also read about the ground-breaking agreement announced in March at the Vatican among representatives of major faiths.  This agreement inaugurated the Global Freedom Network which has the Walk Free Foundation as its major partner.  Discover how you can make a difference as a consumer.  Read more…

Rana Plaza Collapse One Year On

Posted in April 13th, 2014

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

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

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

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.

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