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Promising Azra

Posted in May 19th, 2017

promising-azraA Book About Forced Marriage in Australia

‘Promising Azra’, by the Australian writer, Helen Thurloe, was published in 2016.  It is a novel which centres around the life of a sixteen year old student, who because of recent academic success is given a place in a nationwide science competition.  Little does she know that as she prepares for the competition, other members of her family are planning a marriage for her.   This is a timely book, since it is set in Australia, and highlights forced marriage against a background of the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Slavery, Slavery?like Conditions and People Trafficking) Act 2013.  The story illustrates the importance of young people, in particular, having informed understanding of the laws against forced marriage in Australia, and knowing their rights. The book, targeted at young adults,  would be an asset in all school libraries .

Best Practice to Combat Forced Marriage

Posted in May 16th, 2017

Forced Marriage WorkshopExchanging Knowledge, Building Relationships

ACRATH joined three other Australian organisations for a forced marriage fact finding mission and information exchange to Jakarta recently. A focus of the two-day event was how to reduce child and forced marriage in Indonesia and Australia. Participants also explored many of the cultural and religious practices driving forced marriage.

The April event organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Indonesia comprised a Seminar and Field Trip – Exchanging Knowledge, Building Relationships: Indonesian and Australian Perspectives on Reducing Child and Forced Marriage.

Forced Marriage Workshop2ACRATH’s forced marriage worker, Liz Payne, joined representatives from the Attorney-General’s Department -Transnational Crime Branch, Anti-Slavery Australia and Red Cross for the seminar at the Australian Ambassador’s residence.

“Indonesian Law states that the practice of child/forced marriage can no longer take place and Australia’s legislation of 2013 outlawed this practice, but it is still happening and in large numbers in Indonesia. The seminar was an opportunity for Indonesia and Australia to share best practice in prevention and to examine ways forward,” Liz said.

Christine CarolanParliamentary Inquiry Committee Listens to Evidence from NGOs

On Thursday 4th May 2017 ACRATH National Executive Officer, Christine Carolan, gave evidence at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Inquiry into Human Trafficking. The Joint Standing Committee on Law Enforcement is conducting this inquiry which is looking at:

  1. the prevalence of human trafficking in Australia, including in culturally and linguistically diverse communities;
  2. the role and effectiveness of Commonwealth law enforcement agencies in responding to human trafficking;
  3. practical measures and policies that would address human trafficking;
  4. the involvement of organised crime, including transnational organised crime, in human trafficking;
  5. the extent to which human trafficking is facilitated by:
    1. migration visas (including marriage, partner, student and work visas),
    2. technology, and
    3. false identities;
  6. the effectiveness of relevant Commonwealth legislation and policies; and
  7. other related issues.

ACRATH commends the government for holding this inquiry. ACRATH’s hope is that this Inquiry will lead to even greater collaboration between government, law enforcement and NGOs resulting in more convictions of traffickers and greater protection for those who have been trafficked or enslaved in Australia.   In addition ACRATH requests the Commonwealth Government to support NGOs with financial resources that will enable them to continue working with government and law enforcement to bring an end to this heinous crime in Australia.

View an interview that included the ACRATH National Executive Officer here.

Stop Trafficking!

Posted in May 8th, 2017

Stop TraffickingAnti-Human Trafficking Newsletter Vol 15 No 5

Human Trafficking is a hidden crime. The May 2017 issue of Stop Trafficking! reveals how people are beginning to see what for too long has been “hidden from plain sight.” Articles in this issue tell how people in the transport, medical and hospitality industries have been instrumental in the rescue of victims of human trafficking. Do you know the tell tale signs of human trafficking? Download the latest issue of Stop Trafficking! here.

2017 Ethical Fashion Report

Posted in May 8th, 2017

2017 Ethical Fashion ReportAre Your Garments Ethical?

The fourth edition of the Ethical Fashion Report was recently released by Baptist World Aid.

It grades over 106 companies… that’s 330 brands! It includes firsthand accounts of what life is like for garment workers around the world. And, for the first time ever, the research has been expanded to include New Zealand’s favourite fashion brands!

The grades awarded by the Ethical Fashion Report are a measure of the efforts undertaken by each company to mitigate the risks of forced labour, child labour and worker exploitation in their supply chains. Higher grades are given to companies with labour rights management systems that, if implemented well, should reduce the extent of worker exploitation. Download the 2017 Ethical Fashion Report here.

Labour ExploitationAustralian Institute of Criminology Research Paper

There have been a number of alleged cases of labour exploitation involving temporary migrant workers in Australia since the late 1990s. The Australian construction industry was identified as particularly problematic, with allegations of deception in relation to work contracts, lack of compliance with employment standards, limited autonomy and threats of abuse leveled. In response to these concerns, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart Josephite Counter- Trafficking Project and the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney commissioned the Australian Institute of Criminology to undertake research on labour exploitation in the Australian construction industry, with a particular focus on temporary migrant workers. Read the document here.

Interview at 2017 ACRATH Conference

Posted in April 29th, 2017

Umes, a participant at the 2017 ACRATH National Conference, explains how human trafficking differs in Australia and Nepal.

Rana Plaza Anniversary

Posted in April 25th, 2017

Rana PlazaFour Years on Has Anything Changed?

Who could forget the scenes of devastation that we saw on 24th April 2013 when the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh collapsed killing over 1,000 garment workers? Now four years on what has changed? The New Daily reports that after the tragedy 200 international apparel brands and retailers from about 20 countries, two global trade unions, and eight Bangladesh trade unions came together to develop the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, which mandates safety inspections. Twelve major Australian brands have joined the Accord. However there continues to be concerns about the safety of workers four years on. Workers are not paid enough to meet their families basic needs. We need to advocate for safe, secure, well-paid jobs for garment workers. We need to ensure that the clothes we purchase in Australia have been ethically produced. The recently released 2017 Ethical Fashion Guide provides information about 106 Australian and New Zealand companies. You can help eliminate exploitation of garment workers.

The Problem with Chocolate

Posted in April 15th, 2017

SarahSr Sarah Puls speaks about Slavery in the Cocoa Industry

In a recent interview aired on ABC Radio National ACRATH member, Sr Sarah Puls sgs, spoke on the link between chocolate and child slavery. Sarah explained that most of the chocolate we eat in Australia comes from West Africa. People in this area are at risk of exploitation because there is not enough money to employ people. Employment practices can be less than ethical. In particular children from the area, and also children trafficked into the area, are forced into picking cocoa beans. These children are denied their right to an education. So is there such a thing as ethical chocolate? Learn more about this issue by listening to the interview with Sarah here.

A Matter of Taste

Posted in March 31st, 2017

A Matter of TasteHelp Drive the Demand for Traffik-free Chocolate

Since the more recent media exposé of the traffcking of children and child labour on cocoa farms in 2000, the chocolate industry has been trying to address the issue, albeit sometimes slowly. All of the major chocolate manufacturing companies now have a Code of Conduct – a promise to protect the environment and the human rights and labour conditions of suppliers. Seventeen years after the initial exposé, child labour in the chocolate industry
is still a pressing issue.  ‘A Matter of Taste‘ examines what the six biggest chocolate companies and the three certifiers are doing to prevent and end human trafficking and child labour in the cocoa farms of West Africa.

See what the chocolate companies are doing.Is your favourite chocolate brand working towards the elimination of child labour in the cocoa industry? If so send a message of thanks. If not, urge them to source certified cocoa for their products.

Download A Matter of Taste or a summary version.

C 2011 ACRATH Inc – Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans