Combatting human exploitation and slavery

By Josh Low

To acknowledge World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, the Archdiocese recently held an event at the Diocesan Centre with various speakers addressing the topic of modern slavery.

Held annually since 2014, the day focuses on raising awareness and combatting human trafficking that is used to facilitate modern slavery and exploitative practices.

Modern Slavery Prevention Manager for the Archdiocese, Ben Smith, hosted the event and spoke of the history and dynamics of human trafficking, as well as touching on modern forms of exploitation.

“Some of those different manifestations of modern slavery include sexual exploitation, forced labour, debt bondage, domestic servitude, organ removal, forced begging, child soldiers and forced marriage,” Mr Smith said.

Kate Madden of CatholicCare Tasmania’s (CCT) Multicultural Services Program spoke about how modern slavery and human trafficking impacts CCT’s clients, focusing on the issues of labour exploitation and forced marriage.

Ms Madden said although all Australians could be at risk of modern slavery, migrants have significant risk factors (such as a lack of knowledge of their rights) and are among those most likely to fall into situations of exploitation.

“Even if someone becomes aware of their rights, they may choose to continue to work in those conditions due to financial pressure or needing to work for their visa,” she said.

“Some of the areas we’ve seen this occur are in agricultural work on farms, health and beauty at places like nail salons, hospitality including front and back house staff, as well as the construction industry.”

The day focused on raising awareness and combatting human trafficking which is used as an avenue for modern slavery practices. Photo: Josh Low

She also addressed forced marriage, providing different scenarios in modern society.

“In some situations, young people may feel the pressure to marry someone their family has arranged for them even though they don’t want to go through with it.

“We also see many issues which intersect with forced marriage, such as domestic and family violence, child abuse and neglect, dowry abuse, domestic servitude, exit trafficking and honour-based violence – any act of violence which is triggered by actual or perceived immoral behaviour deemed to have brought shame onto the family,” Ms Madden said.

Darren de Lacey from De Lacey Coffee Roasters spoke about sustainable coffee and his experience of the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Highlands, in terms of supply chain and fair-trade practices.

“We continue to work with Goroka Coffee Roasters in PNG not just because of our close family connection but because we like to support what they do as a region with their coffee and enjoy being able to sow back into the community that we’re close to,” Mr de Lacey said.

Fair-trade does make a difference to the product and to the lives of the people in PNG, he added.

“Anything that can be a roadblock or speed hump to the exploitation of workers, benefits those who work in the industry while also protecting the welfare of children, and is going to be a great thing for them,” he said.

Tags: Modern Slavery Response, News