Dear Members and Supporters, this letter is from Louise Cleary csb, ACRATH President, and Christine Carolan, EO.
July 9 2020
Dear ACRATH Members and Supporters,
Many of you, your congregations, dioceses, parishes or communities, already donate to ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) and may have already done so in recent months.
Others have supported trafficked people through prayer, advocacy, companionship, purchasing slavery-free products and letter writing.
Thank you! It takes an almighty community effort to build the momentum needed to stop modern slavery and together we will bring an end to the trafficking of humans.
We know in these times that seem chaotic and unpredictable, COVID-19 is impacting on the very people most vulnerable to trafficking because they often live in poverty and lack suitable housing and healthcare.
Hundreds of thousands of these people will be drawn to the promise of work simply to put food on their family’s table – work that often turns out to be a job in slave-like conditions. Or worse, they will be sold into labour or sexual exploitation.
Each year ACRATH asks for your support as we mark the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on 30 July. Each year, generously, you respond. And each year because of your response ACRATH has been able to develop projects, services and resources.
Your support has helped ACRATH:
- Provide training programs and workshops around Australia for teachers and child protection workers to provide safe referral pathways for a young woman in a forced marriage or facing a forced marriage. In 2019 the Australian Federal Police had 193 active cases of forced marriage.
- Develop, in response to COVID-19, a 35-minute forced marriage online training video for teachers, hospital staff and child-protection workers, who cannot attend face-to-face training sessions.
- Support ACRATHCompanions to assist trafficked women during COVID-19. These volunteers have used online technology to help the women with practical issues such as material aid and bill paying as well as provide more complex emotional support.
- Offer teachers from around Australia a webinar introduction to human trafficking using our online kit, Modern Slavery: A Kit for Senior Secondary Students. The webinars were developed to support teachers forced to work online during COVID-19 and more are planned for later this year and next year.
- Support Western Australia ACRATH members to develop posters for distribution to schools and parishes to promote slavery-free supply chains and support for garment workers in those countries hit hardest by COVID-19.
- Connect our forced labour team with the East-Timorese workers in Warrnambool and Red Cliffs and overseas workers in Queensland to keep them updated on the COVID-19 regulations from the government and other important health information and support services.
None of this work, though challenging during the pandemic, could have happened without your support and we thank you.
If you are in a position now to continue to support the critical anti-trafficking work of ACRATH, at a time that is even more dangerous for those most vulnerable, we are incredibly thankful. Their time of need could not be greater.
If you cannot offer any financial support during this difficult time, we understand and we ask you to continue to collaborate with us to stop human trafficking and modern slavery.
ACRATH has produced a prayer (attached) for use to mark the 2020 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on 30 July. We are aware that more than 40 million people in our world today are victims of human trafficking. We also know that our prayer must change us and lead to action against this injustice. Therefore the theme of the prayer is “May our prayer lead us to act against human trafficking“.
Again, we thank you for all the actions you take to prevent human trafficking and to support those who are trafficked and we ask you to consider donating to ACRATH today, if you are in a position to do so.
Online: The link is https://www.trybooking.com/au/donate/acrath
Please note there is a forward slash not a dot between com and au.
Cheques: Please make cheques payable to ACRATH Public Fund. Post to ACRATH National Office, 54 Beaconsfield Parade, Albert Park, 3206.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
ACRATH Public Fund
BSB 063 111 Account number 10802141
(Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you make a donation by direct deposit giving name and contact details so that a receipt can be sent).
Again, we thank you for your unwavering support.
Christine Carolan, Executive Officer Sr Louise Cleary csb, President
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ACRATH National Secretary
“On this World Day against Trafficking in Persons, let us reaffirm our commitment to stop criminals from ruthlessly exploiting people for profit and to help victims rebuild their lives.” — UN Secretary-General António Guterres
Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sex. Since 2003 the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has collected information on about 225,000 victims of trafficking detected worldwide. Globally countries are detecting and reporting more victims, and are convicting more traffickers. This can be the result of increased capacity to identify victims and/or an increased number of trafficked victims.
Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit, or destination for victims. Traffickers the world over continue to target women and girls. The vast majority of detected victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation and 35 per cent of those trafficked for forced labour are female. Conflict further exacerbates vulnerabilities, with armed groups exploiting civilians and traffickers targeting forcibly displaced people. Data also shows that trafficking happens all around us as the share of persons trafficked within their own country has doubled in recent years to 58 per cent of all detected victims, according to the 2018 UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons .
In 2010, the General Assembly adopted the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, urging Governments worldwide to take coordinated and consistent measures to defeat this scourge. The Plan calls for integrating the fight against human trafficking into the UN’s broader programmes in order to boost development and strengthen security worldwide. One of the crucial provisions in the Plan is the establishment of a UN Voluntary Trust Fund for victims of trafficking, especially women and children.
The Trust Fund facilitates effective, on-the-ground assistance and protection to victims of trafficking, through grants to specialized NGOs. It aims to prioritize victims coming from a context of armed conflict and those identified among large refugee and migration flows.
In 2013, the General Assembly held a high-level meeting to appraise the Global Plan of Action. Member States also adopted resolution A/RES/68/192 and designated July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. This resolution declared that such a day was necessary to “raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights.”
In September 2015, the world adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and embraced goals and targets on trafficking in persons. These goals call for an end to trafficking and violence against children; as well as the need for measures against human trafficking, and they strive for the elimination of all forms of violence against and exploitation of women and girls.
Another important development is the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, which produced the groundbreaking New York Declaration. Of the nineteen commitments adopted by countries in the Declaration, three are dedicated to concrete action against the crimes of human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
Human Trafficking: call your government to action
Despite many countries having national trafficking laws in place which are in line with the UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol, people continue to be trafficked. What is more, in many countries, victims may still be criminalized while the impunity of traffickers prevails.
Therefore, on the 2019 World Day UNODC is focusing on highlighting the importance of Government action in the interest of victims of trafficking. But the call to action is not only to Governments, we encourage everyone to take action to prevent this heinous crime.
Why Do We Mark International Days?
International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. More information available here.