Opportunity to support ACRATH


Don Sinclair was interested when he heard ACRATH staff and volunteers described by a friend as ‘warriors’. He was ‘hooked’ when he heard that they work to combat human trafficking in Australia.

Don, chair of the Uniting Op Shop at Forest Hill in Melbourne heard about human trafficking earlier this year after a member of the Committee came to a monthly meeting suggesting a donation be given to ACRATH to continue its fight against human trafficking. Don did his own research and was shocked to learn that human trafficking in the form of forced labour, sexual exploitation and forced marriage happens in Australia. 

The committee donated $1000 to ACRATH in July and intends to make regular contributions and to ensure that the op shop’s 50 volunteers and committee members know about ACRATH’s work.

“It was an absolute eye opener to me. I knew it happened in other countries, but not here in Australia,” Don said.

The Uniting Op Shop, located in a 120-year old church hall at 333A Canterbury Rd, Forest Hill, distributes all its profits to charities. The growing success of the shop means organisations like ACRATH can rely on regular funding and plan programs, knowing they can be funded. 

Donations also mean advocacy can be done on important issues affecting trafficked people. The September advocacy trip to Canberra, explored in more detail in this newsletter, could lead to life-changing policy developments affecting trafficked people. The annual Canberra advocacy visits require training for staff and volunteers, resources and the costs associated with a week in Canberra visiting MPs and departmental officers. All of this requires funding.

Don, who began volunteering with the op shop in 2014 and took over as chair in 2021, said the op shop was closed during COVID’s 20 months of lockdowns. During that time the building was restored and internally made fit for purpose as an op shop.

The Op Shop began in 2007 and earned $7000 in its first year. When COVID hit in early 2020 the Op Shop was earning $45,000 a year. The Op Shop reopened after COVID in November 2021 and by the end of 2022 earnings were up to $60,000. This year sales are expected to be around $72,000.

“We work hard at the op shop because we see our role as fund raisers so that organisations like ACRATH can do the work they do, knowing they have money to do it,” Don said.

Two Victorian ACRATHers attended the op shop’s August committee meeting and shared more details about the work of ACRATH. That information will be shared with all the op shop’s 50 volunteers. 

The Uniting Op Shop at 333A Canterbury Rd, Forest Hill is open six days a week (closed Sunday) between 9.30am and 1pm.

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