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Stop Trafficking!

Posted in December 9th, 2015

Stop TraffickingAnti-Human Trafficking Newsletter Vol 13 No 12

The December issue of Stop Trafficking! provides basic information about human trafficking that can be used to educate others.  It contains useful resources that can be used in January which is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in the US. Articles include Shopping and Slavery, Little Understood Forms of Human Trafficking and 20 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking. Read more…


Unshackling Development

Posted in December 9th, 2015

Unshackling DevelopmentWhy Do We Need Global Partnerships?

Dr James Cockayne is the author of a report released this month entitled Unshackling Development: Why Do We Need Global Partnerships? The report reminds us that we unwittingly feel the touch of slavery in our smartphones, the palm oil in our cosmetics and shampoo, the seafood we buy at supermarkets, our rice bowls, and in our beef. It is woven into our clothes, forged into the steel in some of our buildings, dusted into the mica sparkles on our cars, and it helps to lay the foundations of megasporting stadiums. It pervades the global sex industry and provides domestic labour in many countries around the world.

The good news, this report suggests, is that we already know quite a bit about what drives slavery—and which keys unlock which shackles. Slavery emerges not only in wholly illegal sectors, but often where legitimate industry intersects with informal work. It is a product of vulnerability arising from social exclusion, income shocks, illiteracy, low educational levels, state instability, conflict, high corruption levels, or insecure immigration status. It is a form of extreme inequality, sustained by a range of vested interests— inscrupulous business actors, corrupt police and officials. We know more and more about the keys that address slavery, unlock this trapped human potential, and unshackle development. These keys take many forms, and not only disrupt, but also prevent slavery by improving access to education, credit, food, health care, land, wage regulation, women’s rights, safe migration and recruitment, and rehabilitation services. Read more…

Speaking About Modern Day Slavery

Posted in December 7th, 2015

ABC Sunday Nights2ABC Radio – Sunday Nights with John Cleary

John Cleary, host of Sunday Nights, ABC Local Radio’s weekly national program that opens up conversations on important issues concerning religion, spirituality, ethics and values, invited four guests to speak on modern day slavery following on from the launch of the Australian Freedom Network in Canberra on 2nd December. ACRATH member, Sr Noelene Simmons, was one of the guests along with Jenny Stanger (Salvation Army), Sheikh Ahmed Abdo (NSW Muslim Police Chaplain) and Fuzz Kitto (Stop the Traffik). Listen to the podcast here.

Faith Leaders Pledge to Work for Freedom

ACRATH members, Srs Genny Ryan and Noelene Simmons, were present at the launch of the Australian Freedom Network in Parliament House, Canberra on 2nd December. Also present at the launch was Sr Rosemary Grundy pbvm, Director of Catholic Religious Australia. Seventeen faith leaders signed a declaration committing their faith communities to work to eliminate slavery in Australia and beyond. The faith leaders signed the same book that Pope Francis and other word faith leaders signed in the Vatican one year ago today. Australia is the first country to sign the declaration. Members of the Australian Federal Parliament who were in attendance endorsed the Joint declaration. The work of ACRATH was affirmed by the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP and by Fr Brian Lucas, General Secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference.  Fr Brian signed the declaration on behalf of Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference. ACRATH is committed to working in collaboration with faith communities in an effort to eliminate human trafficking and modern day slavery.

We Can Make a Difference

Posted in December 2nd, 2015

Denis_Hart_Catholic_resized_700wArchbishop Denis Hart Makes Declaration Against Modern Slavery

On December 2, Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, joined with other faith leaders of Australia to make a declaration against modern slavery. This event launched the Australian Freedom Network.

“In the words of Pope Francis,
today slavery is rooted in the notion of the human being treated as an object.
When we no longer regard our neighbours as being of equal dignity,
sharing a common humanity with out brothers and sisters,
but rather as objects, slavery can often take root in our society.
It is a tragedy that in our world today, human beings created in the image and likeness of God,
are deprived of their freedom, sold and reduced to being the property of others.
Many are treated as a means to an end.
With education, respect and dignity for every human person, we can make a difference.
Together, let us commit to eradicate this affront to our humanity.”

Also present at this event were representatives from Catholic Religious Australia and ACRATH.

You too are invited to make a declaration to #endslavery. Read more…

Australian Freedom Network

Posted in December 2nd, 2015

YoCs3QhfoZjgpxFMxvokiOMpdv2OvtTPDWLjyKao7-YMany Faiths, One Goal – #endslavery

The Australian Freedom Network (AFN) is a reflection of the Global Freedom Network, launched by Pope Francis on 2 December 2014. The Global Freedom Network is founded on the premise that religious faith can be a powerful motivating force to inspire individual and community action both spiritually and practically.

The Australian Freedom Network has been launched today (December 2, 2015) at Parliament House in Canberra on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. At this event faith leaders signed the same ‘Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery’ that was signed at Vatican City in 2014.

The Australian Freedom Network will:

  • Raise awareness about slavery in Australia amongst faith communities
  • Unify faith-based organisations to collaborate on ending slavery in Australia
  • Inspire people to engage with the issue of modern slavery as an extension of their faith in Australia
  • Encourage faith communities to take meaningful actions to end slavery in Australia
  • Support and amplify existing anti-slavery work in Australia

The founding members of The Australian Freedom Network are:

  • Pastor Wayne Alcorn, National President, Australian Christian Churches, represented by, Pastor Sean Stanton
  • Joel A’Bell, Lead Pastor Hillsong Church Australia
  • Reverend Dr Bill Brown, Chair, National Council of Australian Baptists in Australia
  • Commissioner James Condon, The Salvation Army Eastern Territory
  • Right Reverend David Cook, Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Australia
  • His Grace Bishop Daniel, Coptic Orthodox Church of Australia, Sydney and Affiliated Regions
  • Archbishop Dr Philip Freier, Primate, Anglican Church of Australia represented by, Right Reverend Dr Matthew Brain
  • Archbishop Denis Hart, President, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, represented by, Reverend Brian Lucas, General Secretary
  • Bishop John Henderson, Lutheran Church of Australia, represented by, Bishop Mark Lieschke
  • Rabbi Alon Meltzer, Rabbinic Council of Australia and New Zealand & Executive Council of Australian Jewry
  • His Eminence Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, Grand Mufti of Australia
  • Julian Robertson, Presiding Clerk of Australian Quakers, represented by, Mrs. Rae Litting
  • Venerable Ban Ruo Shi, Senior Abbott, Prajna Monastery Australia
  • Commissioner Floyd Tidd, The Salvation Army Southern Territory

You are invited to make a pledge to #endslavery in Australia at

Forced Marriage Laws Strengthened in Australia

Posted in December 2nd, 2015

Forced marriageClearer Definition and Stronger Penalties for Offenders

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Powers, Offences and Other Measures) Act 2015 came into force on Friday 27 November 2015. This act makes it clear forced marriage includes situations where a person is not able to understand the nature and effect of marriage for reasons such as age and mental capacity. The Act also presumes that a person under the age of 16 does not understand the nature and effect of a marriage ceremony and so a defendant would bear the burden of proving the contrary on the balance of probabilities.

Penalties for forc3d marriage offences have increased under the new Act. The base offence caries a penalty of seven year imprisonment while an aggravated offence carries nine years penalty.

These measures adopted by the Australian Government send a clear message that the slavery-like practice of forced marriage is unacceptable. For more information on forced marriage visit the Attorney-General’s Department website.

ACRATH Calendar 2016

Posted in November 30th, 2015

calendar 2016Anti-Trafficking Resource Calendar

National and international efforts to combat human trafficking and forced labour in Australia are showcased in ACRATH’s 2016 calendar produced by long time ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) member Sr Janine Bliss fmm. The calendar illustrates the range of projects and people collaborating to combat the problem, described by Pope Frances as ‘a crime against humanity’.

The calendar was first produced in 2015 and was used by organisations, NGO’s and Church and school communities around the country as a referral point and to gain an understanding of the issues. This year’s calendar was designed to show the extent of advocacy, policy reform, funding initiatives and practical support being given to people trafficked in Australia. As well, the calendar touches on global links and how NGOs worldwide are working together.

The calendar includes comprehensive campaign and program information from the following people and organisations:

  • ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans)
  • Anti-Slavery Australia
  • Attorney-General’s Department
  • Baptist World Aid Australia
  • Franciscans International
  • Irin – Humanitarian News and Analysis
  • National Farmers’ Federation
  • Red Cross Australia
  • Salvation Army – Trafficking & Slavery Safe House
  • Salvation Army – The Freedom Partnership
  • Shalom College, Bundaberg
  • Stop the Traffik
  • Sr Angela Reed RSM, PhD and social worker Mrs Marietta Latonio

“It is helpful to those of us working in this space, to get a sense of who else is doing what. The calendar does that and it also illustrates how many groups are working together and not just working in silos. It’s a great example of justice organisations finding common ground and joining forces for a better outcome for the people they aim to serve,” Sr Janine said.

The RAP“For many of us who work against human trafficking, it is difficult to get a full picture of what is going on in Australia amongst the government and NGOs. I have tried to explore that and the calendar is a useful vehicle to use in raising awareness of human trafficking issues.”

This year’s calendar features 15 projects or profiles, including Government, school, church, NGO and ACRATH initiatives. As well, it alerts people to some important anti-trafficking days of the year such as February 8 – the Feast of St Josephine Bakhita, the World Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action Against Human Trafficking and March 25 International Day of Remembrance for Victims of Slavery and Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Sr Janine, ACRATH Queensland Coordinator, said the calendar was also a call to action, urging people to join one of the many campaigns highlighted. She said in her talks she encouraged people to:

  • Join a campaign to fight trafficking in your community
  • Fight trafficking by buying from companies that have transparent and slave-free supply chains
  • Raise awareness of human trafficking issues
  • Talk to your friends and family about the issue
  • Volunteer for, or donate to ACRATH, or other organisations fighting trafficking.

“The groups featured in the 2016 calendar are working together in the belief that we can make things better, but we need more people to join the fight, doing what they can in their own families, community or workplace,” Sr Janine said.

The calendars cost $10. Download an order form here.

Contact: For more information contact Sr Janine Bliss at or on 0412 185 026

white ribbon day 2White Ribbon Day 2015

Women’s activists have marked 25 November as a day against violence since 1981. This date came from the brutal assassination in 1960, of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961). In 1999 the United Nations called on all governments, organisations and NGOs to organize activities to raise awareness of the problem and declared 25th November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This day is also referrred to as White Ribbon Day.

In her statement to mark the 2015 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, reflects “Imagine how different the world would be for girls growing up now if we could prevent early marriage, female genital mutilation, the turning of a blind eye to domestic violence, abusive text messages, the impunity of rapists, the enslavement of women in conflict areas, the killing of women human rights defenders, or the hostility of police stations or courtrooms to women’s testimony of violence experienced.” Download the full statement.

On this White Ribbon Day will you Stand Up and Speak Out against violence against women and children. Visit the White Ribbon Australia website.

ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons

Posted in November 24th, 2015

ASEAN Trafficking Convention27th ASEAN Summit

On Sunday 22nd November 2015 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Person.  In signing this document they recognised that trafficking in persons is a violation of human rights and reaffirmed their commitment to strong regional and international co-operation against trafficking in persons and recognised “the importance of having in place a regional instrument against trafficking in person that is legally binding and would assist ASEAN Member States as countries of origin, transit and destination to deal with their diverse national challenges, policies and strategies in the fight against human trafficking.” Read the full document here.

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