Call For Effective Action Against Slavery
Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York on Nov. 9 addressed a conference on “Practical Solutions to Eradicate Human Trafficking”. In his statement the Archbishop reaffirmed the Church’s commitment to fight the scourge of human trafficking and slavery. This commitment involves tackling the drivers that fuel the scourge and reaching out to victims. Archbishop Auza stated:
“When Pope Francis came to the United Nations in September 2015, he said that plagues like “human trafficking, the marketing of human organs and tissues, the sexual exploitation of boys and girls, slave labor, including prostitution,” and other evils cannot be met by “solemn commitments” alone. We have to ensure, he underlined, that our efforts are “truly effective in the struggle against all of these scourges.”
He also affirmed the formation of partnerships to strengthen collective action among governments and governmental agencies, academic institutions and the media, civil society and the private sector. Special mention was made of “Talitha Kum, an international network of 22 institutes of Catholic religious sisters across 70 countries on five continents, in big cities and the most rural areas. These communities work together at a practical level with each other, with other civil society groups, and with governments to try to address the multiplicity of concrete issues that are involved in combatting trafficking. Their witness and work provide an example for Catholic and non-Catholic institutions across the globe of the type of good alliances and solidarity necessary to combat the organized crime and corruption that make trafficking possible and profitable.” ACRATH is proud to be a member of Talitha Kum.
Download Archbishop Auza’s full statement here.
Modern Slavery Bill Progresses
The Australian Parliament is currently considering a Modern Slavery Bill. On Tuesday 18th September the Bill was passed in the House of Representatives. To mark this event the Assistant Minister for Home Affairs Senator Linda Reynolds has released a statement which can be accessed here. The Bill will now be debated in the Senate.
While ACRATH welcomes this development it is hoped that there will be some amendments before the Bill passes into law. In particular ACRATH would like to see the inclusion of an independent statutory officer to assist with the implementation of the Bill. You are invited to support ACRATH’s campaign to realise this amendment by writing to Senators in your State of residence. Information about the campaign can be found here.
Woman from Morocco trapped in forced labour. “Whenever the lady of the house left, she would lock me up for hours in the veranda, with only one small bottle of water.” © PAG-ASA, Massimo Timosi
Slavery is not merely a historical relic. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) more than 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery. Although modern slavery is not defined in law, it is used as an umbrella term covering practices such as forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, and human trafficking. Essentially, it refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or abuse of power.
In addition, more than 150 million children are subject to child labour, accounting for almost one in ten children around the world.
Facts and Figures:
An estimated 40.3 million people are in modern slavery, including 24.9 in forced labour and 15.4 million in forced marriage.
- There are 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the world
- 1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children.
- Out of the 24.9 million people trapped in forced labour, 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture; 4.8 million people in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million people in forced labour imposed by state authorities
- Women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labour, accounting for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry, and 58% in other sectors.
- ILO has adopted a new legally binding Protocol designed to strengthen global efforts to eliminate forced labour, which entered into force in November 2016.
- The 50 for Freedom campaign aims to persuade at least 50 countries to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol by 2018.
Textile industry workers. It is vital to fight human trafficking in all its forms but labour trafficking is the most common. @ILO/A.Khemka
The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December, marks the date of the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (resolution 317(IV) of 2 December 1949).
The focus of this day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.
Main Forms of Modern Slavery
Slavery has evolved and manifested itself in different ways throughout history. Today some traditional forms of slavery still persist in their earlier forms, while others have been transformed into new ones.
The UN human rights bodies have documented the persistence of old forms of slavery that are embedded in traditional beliefs and customs. These forms of slavery are the result of long-standing discrimination against the most vulnerable groups in societies, such as those regarded as being of low caste, tribal minorities and indigenous peoples.
A young visitor to the Palais des Nations in Geneva adds her name to a symbolic signature panel in support of the “50 for Freedom” campaign to end modern slavery. The campaign aims to promote the ratification and implementation of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Protocol on Forced Labour, with the first 50 Member States ratifying it by 2018. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré