ACRATH stands for the Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans. We are endorsed by Catholic Religious Australia – the peak body for 155 religious orders in Australia, representing over 5,700 religious sisters, brothers and priests.
“I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.” – John 10.10
“Nobody has the right to treat you as her or his slave and you should not make anyone your slave” – Article 4 United Nations Declaration of Human Rights
ACRATH’s mission is to eliminate human trafficking and the harm it causes, in Australia, the Asia Pacific region and globally. We do this in collaboration with others in Australia and internationally. ACRATH has been a pioneering voice in the Australian Catholic sector in the fight against human trafficking and modern slavery since 2005.
ACRATH has established a strong presence across 5 states and the ACT in the space of countering human trafficking and slavery in Australia. ACRATH has skills and experience across many sectors: accompanying and advocating for people who have been trafficked or exploited in Australia; supporting and advocating for those in exploited and forced labour; advocating for systemic change; educating parishes, schools and community groups about slavery in supply chains; and was a key participant in the successful campaign for the establishment of the Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act (MSA), as well as several other pieces of legislation. ACRATH’s current Strategic Plan may be accessed here.
Working in Partnership
Our work has been respected and recognised by Members of Parliament, government departments, Church, schools and many community groups. ACRATH has been significantly supported by Religious Congregations, both financially and with contributed service over the sixteen years, and by some Catholic bishops. During 9 years of Commonwealth funding (2009 – 2017), ACRATH worked in partnership with three other groups who were also recipients of government grants to work on counter-trafficking. ACRATH has been a member of the Sydney Anti-Trafficking Taskforce (2017-2019) and the VicTas Modern Slavery Taskforce. ACRATH is an active NGO participant and a foundation member (2008) of the federal government’s National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery and its working groups, and since 2019 an energetic member of the Seasonal Worker Program Advisory Group (SWPAG).
ACRATH has an established pattern of working collaboratively and collegially with significant partners in addressing many aspects of human trafficking and slavery on the basis of mutual respect and openness to sharing knowledge and developments in this space. Productive partnerships have been established with many key stakeholders: Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department, Australian Border Force, DFAT, DESE, AFP, Red Cross, ASA, Forced Marriage Networks in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, Australian Muslim Womens’ Centre for Human Rights, Just Work Network, Tertiary institutes, Catholic healthcare and several unions. ACRATH values this work, has credibility in these fora and believes that this can bring about systemic change.
ACRATH believes in the efficacy of its work and will continue to work on the issues in which it has competence and is already viewed as a knowledgeable contributor by many bodies. ACRATH is known for, and committed to, collaborative and inclusive ways of working.
ACRATH, because of its extensive reach into parishes, justice groups, Catholic schools and religious institutes and their works, has the capacity to educate and bring about the attitudinal and behavioral changes that will drive the embedding of the MSA. ACRATH believes that the moral and ethical principles of the gospel and Catholic Social Teaching must drive this work, as legislative compliance is insufficient. ACRATH has the knowledge and skills to educate groups within and beyond Catholic circles about slavery-free supply chains and the underlying premises of the MSA and its regulatory requirements.
Because ACRATH members encounter and accompany trafficked and exploited people, the organisation is in a privileged position to bring their voices and grassroots experiences to the decision-making tables and will continue to do.
The task of addressing Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery is enormous. Gospel justice demands that we work to protect, and restore, the human dignity and rights of trafficked and enslaved people. The Catholic community across Australia is widely spread and there is much to be done in education and engagement addressing these violations of human rights. ACRATH is committed to working in partnership with groups working in this space where all are seen as equal contributors and the dialogue is characterised by mutual respect.