Our History

One thread of the early story of ACRATH was in 2005 when Louise Cleary csb and Pauline Coll sgs met over coffee in a Queensland food court. They were responding to the 2001 call by the leaders of Catholic women’s congregations (UISG) who had met in Rome in 2001 and 2004; their call was:

  • to work in solidarity with one another within religious communities and in the countries in which they were located
  • to address insistently at every level the abuse and sexual exploitation of women and children, with particular attention to the trafficking of women which has become a lucrative multi-national business

Louise and Pauline invited congregations to begin collaborating to stop human trafficking. Initially they were joined by Margaret Ng rsj and Tania de Jong rgs, both of whom had been working in their own congregations on counter trafficking projects.

Advocacy begins

In 2005 Louise Cleary csb called together Australian academics and social justice advocates to prepare a submission to the Committee of CEDAW (Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women) at the United Nations in New York.

This submission was successful in framing several of the CEDAW Committee’s Concluding Comments; these were recommendations back to the Australian government, and ACRATH’s advocacy work was born; ACRATH began meeting with Members of Parliament to call for these CEDAW recommendations to be implemented:
Concluding comments from CEDAW in 2006 to the Government of Australia:

Recommendation 21: The Committee recommends the formulation of a comprehensive strategy to combat the trafficking of women and exploitation …

Recommendation 32: The Committee recommends that the State party increase its funding to non-governmental organizations …

Recommendation 35: The Committee also emphasizes that a full and effective implementation of the Convention is indispensable for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) …

Advocacy Submission

ACRATH responds to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

ACRATH currently takes inspiration from the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and in particular SDG 8.7:

"Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms."