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Time for an Act against Modern Slavery

Posted in December 2nd, 2016

afn_letter_to_pm_2016_resized_420wAustralian Faith Leaders Against Slavery

Eighteen national faith leaders of the Australian Freedom Network have called on the Federal Government for an Act of Parliament to discourage slavery-like conditions both in Australia and in our trading partners.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to coincide with the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, leaders of Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Jewish faith wrote:

“Australia has an opportunity to lead and an opportunity to learn from what has worked and not worked in other countries to identify, mitigate and eradicate modern slavery,”

Read the full letter to Prime Minister Turnbull here.


16 Days 16 Stories

Posted in November 24th, 2016

16_days_logo_english16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence

The UN sponsored 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence takes place from 25th November to 10th December each. This year Mercy Global Action at the United Nations in partnership with the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd as part of this campaign presents #16Days16Stories. The campaign focuses on the experience of formerly trafficked women and girls who give testimony to gender discrimination and marginalization from childhood into early adulthood.

Their stories, told in their own words, highlight the many human rights violations and cumulative disadvantages in their life journeys. Through their stories, survivor advocates provide key insights into preventative measures to end human trafficking. A series of 16 videos based on the publication ‘I Have a Voice: Trafficked Women-In Their Own Words’ has been developed for the campaign. These videos will be launched consecutively throughout the 16-day campaign, highlighting the stories of women who have been trafficked, as well as providing questions to reflect upon, points to ponder and actions for advocacy. To view videos click here.

Pope Francis Meets RENATE

Posted in November 23rd, 2016

Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation

pope-with-renateThe 2nd European Assembly of RENATE (Religious of Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation) took place in Rome 6th-12th Nov 2016. During the Assembly participants attended an audience with Pope Francis. In addressing the Assembly Pope Francis said:

“As you well know, one of the challenges to this work of advocacy, education and coordination is a certain indifference and even complicity, a tendency on the part of many to look the other way where powerful economic interests and networks of crime are at play.” (Photo: Read more…

RENATE: A Mapping Across Europe

Posted in November 23rd, 2016

cover-for-renate-mapping_smallMapping the Extent of Human Trafficking In Europe

The RENATE Mapping Across Europe Report provides rich insights into the contribution being made by women religious, their congregations and associates in the world-wide efforts to bring an end to Human Trafficking. The report illustrates the diverse actions undertaken by RENATE members in 13 countries from East, Central and Western Europe. These actions range from victim protection through shelters, to education-awareness, informing policy, recovery and integration, advocacy as well as campaigning.

In the preface of this document RENATE President Sr Imelda Poole states:
” this work seeks to inform the reader about the relevant legislative framework and European guidance regarding human trafficking. It also outlines the work of the stakeholders in these countries, the purpose of the national referral mechanisms, and examples of good practice. It highlights the processes used for this exercise, including the questionnaire template. This document supported the key researcher in seeking best practice and in exposing the challenges faced in that place in identification and support of victims of the crime. The Mapping Exercise has also made an assessment of existing systems, country by country, and possible loopholes and risks of abuse and exploitation in these systems.” Read more…

Special Rapporteur For Migrants in Australia

Posted in November 22nd, 2016

mr-francois-crepeauVisit of UN Human Rights Expert

The UN Special Rapporteur for Migrants is Mr François Crépeau. Special Rapporteurs are independent from any government or organization. Their role is to make fact finding visits to countries to investigate human rights compliance for various themes. Mr Crépeau visited Australia 1-18 November “to assess, in a spirit of cooperation and dialogue, the situation of migrants and asylum seekers.”

In his end of mission statement Mr Crépeau commented on the exploitation of migrant workers in Australia. While welcoming the various types of visa options for migrants to work in Australia he expressed concern in finding out about “the exploitation of migrants on working holiday visas, as well as of asylum seekers on bridging visas, by employers in Australia, as migrants in general refrain from reporting, protesting and mobilising due to their fear of seeing their visa cancelled, being held in immigration detention, or deported. They are made to work long hours and paid wages that are below the minimum wage in Australia, often in the construction, agricultural and hospitality industries. Temporary work visas may therefore increase the vulnerability of migrant workers. Competent oversight mechanisms, including the Fair Work Ombudsman, need to be better deployed and funded to combat such exploitation.” (Photo: Read more…

Against Trafficking in Children and Adolescents

Posted in November 17th, 2016

Kids They Are! Not Slaves!

The theme for the next World Day of Prayer Reflection and Action Against Human Trafficking has been launched by Sr Gabriella Bottani, co-ordinator of Talitha Kum (the International Network of Consecrated Life Against Human Trafficking). The 2017 theme is Against Trafficking in Children and Adolescents while the slogan for this theme is Kids They Are! Not Slaves! You are invited to join with the international community on 8th February, the feast of St Josephine Bakhita. St Josephine Bakhita was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. Once freed she dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery, and comforting the poor and suffering.

Learning About Human Trafficking

Posted in November 17th, 2016

seminar-presenters Training Day for Teachers

On Friday 28th Oct, the Education group conducted the fourth of its major Education Training days for senior secondary teachers. Once again Melbourne Catholic Education supported ACRATH by providing the venue and catering for the participants, in addition to granting Professional Development Accreditation  to participants.

We were delighted to have three excellent speakers: – Dr Stephen Fisher ACU speaking about Demand in Sex Trafficking and Prostitution; Professor Jennifer Burn on Risk Factors for young women, in particular those vulnerable to Forced Marriage.  Jen also spoke about the problems involved in recruitment in Supply Chains and Liz Payne on the Forced Marriage Project which has already been trialled successfully in three States.

Some responses to the Evaluation Question   “What did you find the most valuable today?” indicate that the program was well received.

The variety of speakers and perspectives was much appreciated as well as their variety of approaches and interpretations. Thank you for your work!

“My eyes have been opened to how vulnerable women are particularly many from ethnic groups.”

Human Rights: “Empower the students – knowledge is power!”

teacher-in-service-day“Have taken notes and will adapt these to the curriculum.”

“The perspective on male violence and root causes/attitudes.”

“The whole day was worth a great deal. Great presenters and material”

“As an Economics Teacher I will incorporate a more in depth look at the Supply Chain and how Government decision on free trade can have a significant influence on the use of these slave labour forces.”

We were indeed pleased with these positive remarks and the eager participation in all aspects of the day by those in attendance. Of course we hope that the learnings of the teachers will enhance their work in their respective schools.

Human Trafficking and Slavery

Posted in November 15th, 2016

social-justice-paper_0001ACSJC and ACRATH announce a new paper on human trafficking

The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council and ACRATH are delighted to announce the publication of a new paper on human trafficking and slavery.

‘Human trafficking and similar forms of exploitation affect every country on earth. They flourish because of society’s greed for cheap goods and services and because it is so easy to forget that those who meet these needs are human beings with their own innate God-given dignity.’

Those are the words of Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen, Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, in his foreword to Human Trafficking and Slavery: A response from Australian Catholics. The paper, the latest in the ACSJC’s Catholic Social Justice Series, is written by Christine Carolan, Executive Officer of Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH), and Sister Noelene Simmons SM, ACRATH’s Regional Co-ordinator for NSW.

acsjc-paper-authorsThe paper looks at slavery and related crimes in the modern world, at the Church’s teaching, and at the international and Australian laws that deal with this abuse. The paper then discusses ACRATH’s work advocating on behalf of victims of human trafficking, educating Australians, and working alongside organisations here and overseas to shut down human trafficking.

Click here for further information including how to obtain copies of this document. A discussion/reflection guide developed to accompany this paper can be accessed here.

ACRATH Members Learn of United Nations Mechanisms

Posted in November 10th, 2016

resized_20161108_154129Franciscans International Training Day

Mr Budi Tjahjono, Asia Pacific Coordinator for Franciscans International (FI), facilitated a training day in which participants learnt about the United Nations Mechanisms on Human Rights, including the Human Rights Council, the Universal Periodic Review and the Human Rights Treaty Bodies. Seven NSW ACRATH members were in attendance.

Following on from Budi’s excellent presentation participants were able to discuss how the mechanisms can be used to bring about change within our own country. The interchange that took place resulted in renewed enthusiasm for advocating on issues such as refugees and asylum seekers, climate change and human trafficking. Thank you to Franciscans International and Franciscan Friars Australia for making this day possible and to Budi for sharing your expertise with such clarity and passion.

A photo by Cayton Heath. of ACRATH Supported

Mr Graham Perrett MP, ALP Member for the Federal electorate of Moreton put forth a motion in the House of Representatives on Monday 7th November calling on the Federal Government to “immediately renew funding to further provide awareness of child marriage and forced marriage in Australian schools and the broader community.” In speaking to the motion Mr Perrett affirmed the work ACRATH has done in developing a pilot programme for school. He indicated this work of awareness raising and community education is crucial as a means of preventing forced marriages from taking place. It was pleasing to see the bipartisan support for this motion. The motion was seconded by Mr George Christensen of the National Party while Lisa Chesters of the ALP and Tim Wilson and Craig Kelly of the Liberal Party also spoke to the motion.

Click here to view video of Mr Perrett speaking to the motion.

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