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Who, If, When to Marry

Posted in June 3rd, 2014

Incidence of Forced Marriage in Canada

Who, If, When to Marry copyThe South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, or SALCO, recently released a report on its findings looking at 219 cases of forced marriage that were identified in the province between 2010 and 2012.  The report, titled Who/If/When to Marry: The Incidence of Forced Marriage in Ontario, found that both men and women in the province are coerced into marriage, but 92 per cent of those affected are women.  In 25 per cent of the cases, the people involved were just 16 to 18 years old when they were married.

The report lists a variety of reasons people are pressured into marriages — usually by family members, community elders or religious leaders — including upholding cultural tradition, family reputation and honour.  Recommendations on how to deal with forced marriages across the country include a national public awareness campaign, building a better framework for assessing cases and providing legal and social support for victims of the practice.  Read more…

untitled nations human rightsReport of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has released a report outlining some of the factors that contribute to early, child and forced marriage and analyses existing measures to address and eliminate it.  The report states that “empirical evidence shows poverty and insecurity as one of the root causes of child, early and forced marriage. Although the proportion of child brides has generally decreased over the last 30 years, child marriage remains common in rural areas and among the poorest communities. In many communities, marriage is often perceived as a way to ensure the economic subsistence of girls and women with no autonomous access to productive resources and living in situations of extreme poverty. Marrying children can also have economic advantages, such as lower dowries for younger brides. Families may agree to the temporary marriage of their daughter in exchange for financial gain, also referred to as a “contractual marriage”. Poverty may also encourage women to marry foreign nationals for financial security, a practice which increases opportunities for trafficking in women.”  Read more…

Special Rapporteur Reports to UN

Posted in May 28th, 2014

Challenges in Developing Rights-based Responses to Trafficking

Special RapporteurUN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, has presented a report on her activities for the period 1st March 2013 to 1st March 2014 to the UN Human Rights Council. In the report she once again affirms “first, that the human rights of trafficked persons must be at the centre of all efforts to combat trafficking and to protect, assist and provide redress to those affected by trafficking; and second, that anti-trafficking measures should not adversely affect the human rights and dignity of the persons concerned.”  Once again she stated the rights of victims to access remedies for the harm committed against them.  “In substance, trafficked persons should be provided with adequate reparations for the harms suffered, which may include restitution, compensation, recovery, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.” Compensation is of critical importance to victims of trafficking who are likely to have suffered significant harm and lost valuable opportunities.  The Special Rapporteur further notes that a strong response from the criminal justice system is an integral part of dealing effectively with trafficking…. there should not be a conflict between the rights of victims and the responses of the criminal justice system, provided that the latter explicitly set out both to challenge the culture of impunity enjoyed by traffickers and to secure justice for the victims.”  Read more…Special Rapporteur

Stop Trafficking!

Posted in May 28th, 2014

Stop TraffickingAnti-Human Trafficking Newsletter Vol 12 No 5

The May 2014 issue of Stop Trafficking looks at the the issues concerning oppressive cultural biases and traditions that have led to human trafficking related crimes that affect women and children. One article, Hotline to Help  Child Brides, tells of the efforts of Dr Eman Sharobeem’s efforts to set up a bilingual hot line in Australia so young girls can call to get help.  Forced Marriage was declared a crime in Australia in 2013.

Read more…

Foreign Aid Cuts a National Disgrace

Posted in May 23rd, 2014

ACRATH Speaks Out

ChristineChristine Carolan, ACRATH National Project C0-ordinator, has made the following comments about cuts to foreign aid announced in the 2014 Federal Budget.  ‘Our aid budget funds among other things access to clean drinking water, education programmes for girls, and counter human trafficking initiatives in our South-east Asian region. These are essentials for some of the world’s poorest people, and yet they come and go at the whim of the Australian treasurer.  In ACRATH’s advocacy work in the past two years, we have called on the Australian government to commit to an aid budget of at least 0.7% of GNI by 2015-16. This was the vision of the global community when the UN developed the millennium development goals as our planet began the new millennium – we could eradicate extreme poverty by shouldering our responsibility to build a more just world.  And how does Australia shape up now, one year away from the 2015-16 target? At present, the foreign aid budget is 0.33% and will, after this budget, be 0.29% in 2017-18. This is a national disgrace. And it needs to be trumpeted in the media.’


Survivor of Trafficking into Australia Dies

Posted in May 23rd, 2014

Ning’s Story

NingACRATH mourns the death of Ning on Friday 16 May 2014 after a long illness.  Ning had been trafficked into Australia as a 13 year old.  ACRATH remembers Ning as a young woman of great strength.  She agreed to testify against her traffickers in Thailand, who were convicted and served long prison sentences.  ACRATH also remembers Ning’s work with our organization to develop strategies to support other Thai young women vulnerable to human trafficking. Ning’s story became widely known through the documentaries ‘Trafficked’ and ‘Trafficked the Reckoning’.  (Photo: Angela Wylie, THE AGE May 29, 2007)

Read more of Ning’s story here.

 Trauma Bonding with Their Traffickers

Canadian womenA Canadian human trafficking task force is seeking to change the legal definition of human trafficking.  According to the legal definition human trafficking usually happens because of force, threats or coercion.  However, Diane Redsky, project director of the Human Trafficking Task Force at the Canadian Women’s Foundation, says these days, Indigenous women who are trafficked don’t necessarily fear for their safety nor are fear tactics always used.  “The victims are ‘trauma bonding’ with their traffickers.  Traffickers are becoming fathers and husbands to their victims.”  Trauma bonding is less like fear and more like a sense of loyalty.  In the case of twelve year old Kimmy (not her real name), she performed sex acts out of not just loyalty to her sister—but also guilt. A desire to help and protect. Read more…

Free Anti-Slavery On-line Course

Posted in May 13th, 2014

Start Learning Today

ASA logoThe first free Australian online training program dealing with trafficking and slavery was recently launched by Sydney-based Anti-Slavery Australia at the University of Technology, Sydney.  Funded by the Australian Government through the Proceeds of Crime program, the course offers comprehensive training on human trafficking, slavery and slavery-like practices including forced labour, debt bondage, servitude, child labour, organ trafficking and forced marriage.  The course can be  accessed on PC, Mac, and on Android and Apple tablets and smartphones.  Using different learning techniques such as videos, graphics, and quizzes the course can be c0mpleted at your own pace.  Click here and start learning.

Bring Back Our Girls Campaign

Posted in May 11th, 2014

Call to Action

Bring Back our GirlsThe April abduction of over 230 schoolgirls from the Chibok Government Secondary School in Nigeria calls us to prayer and action on their behalf.  In a recent media statement First Lady, Michelle Obama, called this “unconscionable” act.  She invited us to “pray for their safe return.  Let us hold their families in our hearts during this very difficult time and let us show just a fraction of their courage in fighting to give every girl on this planet the education that is her birthright.”  Read more…

The US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking have issued a document inviting us to stand in solidarity with people everywhere urging us to pray and take action.  A copy of this document can be downloaded here.

Freedom Partners

Posted in May 9th, 2014

Margaret & MargaretSafe House Partnership

The May issue of Trafficking and Slavery Safe House acknowledges the partnership between the Josephite Counter Trafficking Project  and the Salvation Army.  Sr Margaret Ng and Sr Margaret Lergessner, who are also ACRATH members, have helped clients build a peer support network which is of invaluable benefit to Safe House clients.  Read more...

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