Passion for Justice
Gemma Thomson immersed herself in the complexities and injustices of human trafficking and modern slavery in Australia and globally after the Presentation Sisters of WA asker her to be one of their Justice Contacts in 2018.
“As the Justice Contact for the Presentation Sisters of Western Australia, I am conscious of the great gift I continually receive in furthering my education and awareness of justice issues impacting our modern world. Such knowledge and wisdom comes from so many wonderful lay and religious individuals and not-for-profit organisations at local, national, and international levels.
In the first few months of 2022, I was blessed with the opportunity of lecturing pre-service secondary teachers at the University of Notre Dame School of Education Fremantle campus in the area of social justice.
As part of their studies in the course Education, Service and Community Engagement students learnt about myriad social justice issues, one of which was human trafficking. In preparing materials for the lecture, I was able to draw upon the wonderful resources available on the ACRATH website to present and share current statistics and information with those in my class. Many students were unaware that human trafficking is a serious issue in Australia. The lecture really challenged student perceptions that human trafficking was just “an overseas problem.”
It was wonderful to see the students embrace the learning opportunity to further their knowledge and understanding about human trafficking. They showed a strong willingness to consider how they could facilitate educational, awareness raising and advocacy initiatives for secondary students into the future. Learning about human trafficking had a significant impact on the students which was reflected in several students electing to write their major essay on human trafficking. Students could have chosen to write on other social justice issues so their choice of topic was very pleasing.
Students expressed a personal commitment as to what they could individually contribute to combat human trafficking and modern slavery as part of the lecture and their written work. Their anecdotal responses were well-thought out, practical and achievable. Engaging in further education about human trafficking is a powerful tool in which we can change the world.
I was particularly moved by the openness of students in acknowledging that whilst we can all make our individual contributions to combatting human trafficking, we can make great change for the good when we work together collectively.
I am particularly grateful to have had the ACRATH resources to draw upon and shape accordingly in our local context for this coursework.
ACRATH’s range of resources can be found at https://acrath.org.au/resources/
This article was written by Gemma Thomson, Dean of Mission and Catholic Identity at Iona Presentation College in Perth and a member of ACRATH WA.
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