Dan Gives for Good

Dr Dan Fleming

Dr Dan Fleming is an ACRATH donor, giving regular donations as part of Give4Good (G4G), a St Vincent’s Health Australia workplace giving program. Dan was appointed Group Manager of Ethics and Formation at SVHA in 2017, about the time that ACRATH and SVHA launched the Human Trafficking Project, thought to be a first in Australia’s health care sector. It was a groundbreaking effort to change the way hospitals respond to trafficked people and ‘slavery proof’ the goods and services they use.

The project looked at how trafficked people – who may present at any of SVHA’s hospitals Australia-wide – can be identified and receive necessary treatment, support, referrals and access to services to facilitate their journey out of modern slavery. This includes women who have been sexually exploited, people facing forced marriage and people who have experienced forced labour.

In 2019 SVHA embarked on the Advocates for Change training program to help key staff identify and support vulnerable people who have been trafficked.

The work happening at SVHA was an eye opener for Dan who was familiar with human trafficking globally, but unaware of its prevalence in Australia.

“Once I found out more both about the problem and the work of ACRATH, I had a sense of familiarity: women religious were first responders to this need. This is the same as the story of St Vincent’s: our story begins with women religious seeing a need and responding to it,” Dan said.

“I did training with ACRATH and our then Group Mission Leader, Lisa McDonald, and discovered more about forced marriage, forced labour and supply chains and what we could do as a health and aged care provider to combat human trafficking.”

“In my lectures in ethics, I had regularly used the global example of chocolate manufacturing and the risk of forced labour in supply chains, but the training showed me that slavery occurs under other banners and can be hidden in plain sight here in Australia.”

Dan said supporting ACRATH, which has volunteers working across Australia, was an easy choice for him because his life’s work, as an ethicist, is about protecting the human dignity of all people, especially those who are vulnerable in any way – including those subject to human trafficking.

Many SVHA staff are now trained to identify, support and refer to appropriate services people whom they believe have been trafficked. Several people have been helped leave slavery-like conditions after being treated at various SVHA hospitals across the eastern states of Australia. Staff were empowered to respond to these needs well because of ACRATH’s training and support.

“SVHA has a dedicated program attached to modern slavery which is supported by ACRATH’s frontline training, particularly the Advocates for Change project, and is woven into the fabric of the hospital’s culture. Responding to need is in the DNA of St Vincent’s people. That’s why they’re so supportive of our response to modern slavery,” Dan said.