Working Against Human Trafficking and Slavery

In the Asia-Pacific region Marist Sisters in Australia and New Zealand are engaged in the work against human trafficking and slavery. The sisters are members of ACRATH in Australia and Talitha Kum Aotearoa New Zealand in New Zealand.

Over recent week ACRATH has been advocating with members of the Commonwealth Parliament. Due to Covid-19 this year all meeting took part online. In addition to members of Parliament the ACRATH team also meets with members of Government Department. The image depicts a meeting with the Australian Ambassador for People Smuggling and Human Trafficking, Lucienne Manton (centre of lower right image), and her team. ACRATH is convinced that it is only through collaboration with government, NGOs and civil society that human trafficking and slavery can be eliminated.

The recent ACRATH Newsletter outlines ACRATH’s advocacy issues in 2020. It also gives a snapshot of other ACRATH activities over recent months. Download a copy of the latest ACRATH newsletter here.

Latest ACRATH News

Marist Sisters in Australia have supported the work of ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) since its beginning in 2005.

In the September issue of ACRATH News you can read about ACRATH’s new Forced Marriage Video Presentation which was launched in August. The Australian Federal Police participated in the launch and explored the issues facing local authorities working to combat forced marriage. Other stories include:

  • ETIKO Fairtrade clothing and JINTA sports equipment is offering ACRATH readers a discount. Work with them to keep workers, hit by COVID, in work.
  • LIZ Morris has written ACRATH’s submission to the Senate’s Select Committee on Temporary Migration. We make 10 compelling recommendations.
  • ACRATH’s calendar for 2021 is available and it explores some great projects combating human trafficking.
  • ACRATH’s volunteer Companions have been able to offer financial support to trafficked women and children during COVID.
  • JOIN the Webinar for teachers on November 23 2020.

Download your copy of ACRATH News here.

World Day of Prayer Against Trafficking in Persons

World-Day-against-Trafficking-in-PersonsIn 2014 the United Nations General Assembly designated 30th July to be the World Day against Trafficking in Persons aware of the need for “raising awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights.”

Human trafficking is a global problem. No country is immune from this crime. People can be enslaved and exploited in situations of sexual slavery, forced labour in agriculture, hospitality, construction, mining and fishing industries; people can be enslaved and exploited in domestic servitude, by having their organs harvested, and in times of conflict and following natural disasters.

A number of Marist Sisters in the Asia-Pacific region are involved in counter human trafficking work. We invite you to take action against this heinous crime by joining with us in prayer on this World Day Against Human Trafficking. Click here for a prayer service.

Networking Against Human Trafficking

TK groupTalitha Kum (the International Network of Consecrated Life Against Human Trafficking) Continent representatives met in Rome 25th – 31st January.  Present at the opening of the meeting were Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and Sr Carmen Sammut, President of the Union of International Superior’s General(UISG). Marist Sisters and ACRATH member, Sr Noelene Simmons sm, represented Australia (ACRATH)and New Zealand (ANZRATH) at this meeting.

TK meeting LogoThe first three days of the meeting, held at the UISG headquarters, were spent in sharing experiences and developing the Talitha Kum vision and objectives for the next three years. Over the next three days participants gathered in the Pontifical Academy of Science where they received valuable input from experts and representatives of other church organizations who are working in the field of human trafficking. On the final day the members of Talitha Kum presented workshops on human trafficking to members of secular institutes who were in Rome participating in the events for the closing of the year of Consecrated Life. All who participated in the Talitha Kum meeting found it to be an enriching experience and are retuning home with a greater awareness of being part o an international network against human trafficking.

Speaking About Modern Day Slavery

DSC00590The Australian Freedom Network was launched in Canberra on 2nd December. Seventeen faith leaders signed a declaration committing their faith communities to work for the elimination of modern day slavery.  The declaration was the same one signed by Pope Francis and other faith leaders in the Vatican in December 2014.  Present at the launch representing ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) was Marist Sister Noelene Simmons.

Following on from this event, John Cleary, host of Sunday Nights, ABC Local Radio’s weekly national program that opens up conversations on important issues concerning religion, spirituality, ethics and values, invited four guests to speak on modern day slavery. ABC Sunday Nights2Noelene was one of the guests along with Jenny Stanger (Salvation Army), Sheikh Ahmed Abdo (NSW Muslim Police Chaplain) and Fuzz Kitto (Stop the Traffik). Listen to the podcast here.

Journalist Wins Award with ACRATH Article

Catholic Outlook ArticlePublished in the Catholic Outlook November 2013 issue, Virginia Knight’s article Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans took out the award for Best Social Justice Coverage at the Australasian Catholic Press Association Awards for Excellence 2014.  The awards were presented by the Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, at the National Press Club in Canberra.  The judge said: “This article had as its focus some of the poorest, powerless and most vulnerable people in our world. It was well written and had the capacity to touch the heart and inspire the reader to action. It helps to expose an issue that gets very little publicity anywhere. It provides readers with an understanding of the underlying causes of trafficking and slavery as well as a sense of direction as to how to act in support of the cause if they choose to do so.”  To write her article Virginia interviewed Australian Marist Sister Noelene Simmons who is NSW Project Officer for ACRATH.

Congratulations to  Virginia Knight on winning this award and asssisting ACRATH to raise awareness about human trafficking, an issue that violates the dignity and rights of vulnerable people. (Photo: Virginia Knight, Catholic Outlook)

ACRATH Newsletter May 2013

“As Marist Sisters we are invited…
to listen to the cries of the oppressed.”
(General Chapter 2008) 

Marist Sisters are happy to support the work of ACRATH(Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) through participating in ACRATH activities and through our prayerful support.  The latest ACRATH Newsletter includes items on the ACRATH National Conference held in February, an advocacy visit to Canberra, new slavery legislation and the ACRATH RAP (Radio Awareness Program).  Readers are also invited to take part in a campaign to encourage supermarkets to have more Easter Eggs manufactured with certified cocoa on their shelves  in 2014.

Against Trafficking in Humans

Srs Therese, Vivienne, Margaret & Noelene

Four Marist Sisters recently attended the ACRATH(Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) National Conference held in Sydney from 18-20 February.  They heard case studies of young Australian women forced into marriage in their parents’ home countries and how temporary visa holders become captive and compliant labour for unscrupulous employers.  They also rejoiced in hearing the Nestlé announcement that all products produced in Australian and New Zealand now use ethically sourced cocoa.

For more information download the ACRATH Chairperson’s Report and a copy of the ACRATH Media Statement released at the conclusion of the conference

ACRATH’s Successful Visit to Federal Parliament

Deputy Speaker, Anna Burke, with Sr Noelene Simmons sm and Sr Joan Kennedy pbvm

Following on from their very successful visit to Federal Parliament ACRATH have released a Newsletter giving details of their visit.   The Newsletter includes references to ACRATH being acknowledged in Hansard during the lead up to the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Slavery, Slavery-like Conditions and People Trafficking) Bill 2012 passing through the House of Representatives.

Download a copy of the Newsletter here.

Human Trafficking Awareness

Srs Noelene (Marist) & Genny (Ursuline)

Marist College Canberra held a Service Expo  in April.  Sr Noelene joined with another member of Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) to set up an ACRATH stall at the Expo.  During the day over 1,000 students passed through the Expo.  A good number visited the ACRATH stall and engaged in conversation about the various forms of human trafficking taking place here in Australia.  Many of the students took postcards to send to chocolate companies to seek an end to child slavery in the cocoa industry in West Africa.