Putting Modern Slavery on the Agenda
Staff at the Diocese of Sale Catholic Education Office in Warragul took time out from their regular duties on recently to learn about modern forms of slavery, including human trafficking and child labour. Brigidine sisters Claire Griffin and Louise Cleary, both members of ACRATH, visited Sion House to share their knowledge and encourage action. While the session covered some heavy topics, the 85 staff in attendance also enjoyed lighter moments, tasting fair-trade coffee, tea and chocolate.
Director of Catholic Education for the Diocese of Sale, Ms Maria Kirkwood, said that she hoped the experience would raise awareness in the broader community. “Coffee and chocolate with the Fairtrade logo are ethically produced, and quite easy to purchase at most supermarkets. Every time we buy something we can help to end modern slavery, both as individuals, schools and businesses. As Pope Francis says, making a purchase is not simply an economic act, it’s also a moral choice. We’ll be exploring options to improve purchasing practices in our schools and at the Catholic Education Office, and I encourage everyone to consider doing the same at home,” she said.
According to the Global Slavery Index, there were over 40 million people experiencing some form of modern slavery in 2016. Products including laptops and mobile phones, clothing and chocolate are all at risk of exploitative practices in their production.