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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...

USCCBTestimony of US Conference of Catholic Bishops

In April 2014 Nathan Lummert, Director Special Programs Migration and Refugee Services/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gave testimony before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations on Effective Accountability: Tier Rankings in the Fight Against Human Trafficking.

Lummert indicates that the Trafficking in Persons Report has been used as a diplomatic tool to pressure foreign governments into action and is also considered an international trafficking indicator.  He states ‘the “open threat” of a negative grade on the TIP Report has provided nations with impetus for national reforms, including the criminalization of trafficking and the opening of shelters and other victim assistance centers.’  In addition Lummert provides a number of recommendations for the continued advancement of the TIP Report such as more focus on stateless persons, refugee populations, and persons at sea.  Download a copy of the testimony here.

Fairtrade Fortnight 3-18 May 2014

Posted in May 6th, 2014

fta 2014

Why Fairtrade?

Fairtrade Fortnight is an annual, nationwide celebration of all things Fairtrade and the difference that choosing fair makes for millions of farmers and workers in developing countries. Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.  Find out about Fairtrade events taking place in your area here.

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.

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