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St Josephine Bakhita

Posted in February 8th, 2016

World Day of Prayer Against Human Trafficking

St Josephine Bakhita was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. Once freed she dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery, and comforting the poor and suffering. At the request of women religious, Pope Francis established her feastday, 8th February, as a worldwide day of prayer, reflection and fasting against human trafficking.


ACBC & ACRATH Media Release

Australians cannot be indifferent to human trafficking and must rise to the challenge to stop this global issue, the Australian Catholic Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life (BCPL) and Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) said on the Feast of St Josephine Bakhita. On 8 February 2016, the Church in Australia marks world day of prayer, reflection and action against human trafficking. Referring to Laudato si’, the recent encyclical by Pope Francis, the BCPL and ACRATH highlighted the Holy Father’s words that, ‘it is clearly inconsistent to combat trafficking in endangered species while remaining completely indifferent to human trafficking, unconcerned about the poor, or undertaking to destroy another human being deemed unwanted’ (91).  Read more…

Resources for celebrating the world day of prayer can be found here.

Vatican to Slave-Proof Supply Chain

Posted in January 24th, 2016

Pope-FrancisEliminating Forced Labour

At a recent gathering of The Global Foundation, an Australian based organization that seeks to encourage dialogue about global governance, sustainability and other issues, Cardinal George Pell, Prefect of the Secretariate of the Economy, made the following announcement:

“I am pleased to confirm that the Vatican itself will commit to slavery-proofing its own supply chains and I hope that today’s announcement will serve as encouragement for others to follow suit.”

Pope Francis has sought to shine the spotlight on the scourge of human trafficking and modern-day slavery and has enlisted Christian and Muslim and other faith leaders to do the same.


World Day of Prayer Against Human Trafficking

Posted in January 18th, 2016

How Will You Mark this DayBakhita Poster?

Pope Francis has declared the feast of St Josephine Bakhita, 8th February, to be the International Day of Prayer Against Human Trafficking. Josephine Josephine Bakhita was born in 1869, in a small village in the Darfur region of Sudan. She was kidnapped while working in the fields with her family and subsequently sold into slavery.  In her later life after she had been freed she was known to have said  “If I were to meet the slave-traders who kidnapped me and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss their hands, for if that did not happen, I would not be a Christian and Religious today.” Her story reminds us of the trauma and loss of dignity endured but ever trafficked person. As we mark her feastday let us pray that we will be able to work against this crime against the dignity of the person. For resources to help you mark this day click here.

Ethical School Uniforms???

Posted in January 18th, 2016

Exploitation of Workers

School uniformsOn Sunday 17th January the Sydney Morning Herald reported that while major retailers in Australia are selling some items of school clothing for as little as $2, the factory workers making these items are being paid wages that do not provide for their basic living expenses.  In Bangladesh wages can be up to 45 per cent below a living wage which means workers do not have enough money to provide basic food, water, shelter, clothing and transport. (Photo: Sydney Morning Herald) Learn more…


Stop Trafficking!

Posted in January 14th, 2016

Stop TraffickingAnti-Human Trafficking Newsletter Vol 14 No 1

In the first issue of Stop Trafficking for 2016 examples of partnerships in the work against human trafficking are highlighted. Articles include Unshackling Development: Why we Need Partnerships to end Modern Slavery, The Value of Anti-Trafficking Task Forces and Collaborating Against Human Trafficking: Cross Sector Challenges and Practices. Download a copy of Stop Trafficking! here.

Human Rights in Supply Chains

Posted in January 12th, 2016

Human Rights in Supply ChainsIn Australia businesses are discovering that protecting human rights is not just the right thing to do but it is also good for business. As key manufacturers and purchasers of labour, materials and products, the Australian business
community finds it cannot turn a blind eye to human rights abuses in its supply chains, regardless of whether businesses’ contributions are direct or indirect through supplier partners.

In December 2015, the results of research undertaken by the Australian Human Rights Commission in partnership with two leaders in the business and human rights field,the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility and the Global Compact Network Australia, were published in a report entitled Human Rights in Supply Chains: Promoting Positive Practice. This report provides a unique insight into the current drivers, practices, and challenges of Australian businesses in managing human rights in their supply chains. Importantly, the report provides practical guidance to assist business with identifying and addressing human rights risks in their supply chains. Download a copy of the report here.

Advocating for Slavery Free Seafood

seafoodReports that have identified slavery and forced labour in the Seafood production and processing in Thailand and SE Asia are alarming. Australian law makes it illegal for any Australian company to engage in any financial transaction involving a slave, regardless of where it occurs in the world.

The work of Coles, Woolworths and Aldi in checking their supply chains back to factory processing is commendable.

You are invited to join us in urging the government to work with companies and civil society groups to take all reasonable steps to ensure the goods have their complete supply chain free of slavery and human trafficking. Call on the government to introduce legislation requiring businesses to publicly disclose the actions they are taking to insure their goods are free from slavery, human trafficking and forced labour.

For more information and to sign the petition click here.

ACRATH Develops Forced Marriage Education Kit

Posted in January 10th, 2016

My Rights - My Future 2ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) has developed a forced marriage education kit for government, Catholic and independent schools across Australia to raise awareness and to educate people about what they can do if they, or someone they know, is being forced into a marriage.

The material and kit, My Rights – My Future: forced marriage, was funded by the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) and hopefully will be available to schools by mid-2016.

The aim of the project is to increase awareness of forced marriage/s and to educate secondary students about forced marriage legislation and how they can access their human rights in this regard. ACRATH has developed curriculum that is pitched at senior secondary students and their teachers ensuring the materials are culturally and socially appropriate given the sensitive nature of the content.

ACRATH has run teacher-training sessions in 9 pilot schools in three states: Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. All the pilot schools will continue to teach this project, using the new material. Other schools wanting to access the material will be offered training.

The forced marriage material was developed by Liz Payne and ACRATH’s Executive Officer, Christine Carolan, and contains important contributions from the teachers involved in the pilot. The kit has been submitted to the Attorney-General’s Department and ACRATH is awaiting further funding to implement phase two which will involve training teachers.

If you are interested in the kit or want more information, please email Include your name, contact number and a comment about why you are interested in the forced marriage material. Please do not expect a reply until after January 25 2016.

Buying Ethically this Christmas

Posted in December 20th, 2015

cotton - forced labourCotton Field to Closet

As Christmas approaches with its promise of celebration, gifts and summer, a nagging little question worms itself into my brain:  How can I tell whether the products I’m about to buy have been ethically sourced and produced?

Let’s take cotton for example.  For some years now global markets have abounded in cheap cotton goods, which we as consumers eagerly snap up at ‘bargain basement’ prices. But cheapness often comes at a very high cost in terms of human lives. Forced labour, including child labour, is alarmingly common in the cotton industry.  Anti-Slavery International estimates that there are at least 12.3 million people whose work meets the definition of forced labour: “All work or service which is exacted from a person under the menace of any penalty and for which the worker does not offer himself or herself voluntarily.”

The eight top cotton producing countries worldwide are China, India, USA, Pakistan, Brazil, Australia, Uzbekistan and Turkey.Cotton accounts for 16% of global insecticide use, more than any other crop. Uzbekstan is the 6th major producer and the 2nd major exporter of cotton in the world.

Read the full article by ACRATH member Anne Kelly ibvm published by Mary Ward International Australia.

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