If I was given 5 million pesos for human trafficking services, first I would use it to set up community advocacy to inform other people, especially in rural areas, and prevent them from being victimised by human traffickers. Second, I would establish a centre like the Recovery Centre to help more women and girls.
If I become a social worker, I will be kind-hearted and understanding. I will help other people with open arms, with no discrimination.
Because of my experience, I have become a stronger person.
“Annabel”, quoted in ‘I Have a Voice: Trafficking of Women in their own words’ page 70.
We are able to embrace our global family by contributing to efforts eradicating slavery and trafficking. If we start by learning more, then we will be better informed about the reality of slavery and trafficking and understand more fully how we can take a stand against it. A process of learning, prayer and reflection, leads us to exercising our conscience: “:…Let us ask ourselves, as individuals and as communities, whether we feel challenged when, in our daily lives, we meet or deal with persons who could be victims of human trafficking, or when we are tempted to select items which may well have been produced by exploiting others. Some of us, out of indifference, or financial reasons, or because we are caught up in our daily concerns, close our eyes to this. Others, however, decide to do something about it, to join civic associations or to practice small, everyday gestures – which have so much merit! – such as offering a kind word, a greeting or a smile. These cost us nothing but they can offer hope, open doors, and change the life of another person who lives clandestinely; they can also change our own lives with respect to this reality.” ‘No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters’, Message for the World Day of Peace, Pope Francis 2015.
Next we can decide how our actions will reinforce the dignity of other individuals. Purchasing and consuming ethically are important ways you can make a real impact as you go about your daily life. Look for items produced by workers who were paid fair wages, who were provided safe working conditions by their employer, and where the items were imported on fair terms of trade, allowing sustainable business to flourish from the ground up. The fair trade movement is one example of this trend toward ethical consumption. Look for the logo of a fair trade certifier to help inform your purchasing decision. Similarly, you might also select ethical financial investments. Often super funds will have an ethical investment option you could choose, for example. Decide not to invest in companies that rely on the exploitation of people to achieve their profit. If you are an employer, then be an ethical one and ensure your employees receive their entitlements, work in safe conditions and at least receive the income they need to meet their basic needs.
Make contact with Catholic organisations in Australia that are working to eradicate trafficking and slavery. Ask how you can support their work; and offer to volunteer, donate, fundraise or otherwise promote their efforts. There are various ways you could raise awareness of the issues relating to slavery and trafficking to help support the work of these organisations:
- Organise workshops, talks or discussion groups, and prayer sessions in your local parish, school or community.
- Participate in or help to organise events and activities on the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita, which also raises awareness about slavery and trafficking issues as the World Day of Prayer Against Human Trafficking.
- Advocate – express your views as a citizen, consumer or investor by writing to your local politician, supermarket or other store, importer, distributor or producer of goods. Your could also sign an existing petition against slavery or create a new petition and invite others in your community to sign also.
- Join or set up a parish social justice group to deal with slavery and trafficking issues. One example of such a group is PATH (Parishioners Against the Trafficking of Humans). ‘On the Right PATH!‘ is a recent article about the group, which you might like to read.
- Organise a fair trade morning tea after Mass or as part of a community event.
Finally, report any concerns you may have about slavery or trafficking taking place in your community.
- In life threatening or emergency situations, call triple zero (000) to contact Police, Fire, or Ambulance Services. If you have hearing or speech impairments, call 106 instead with a TTY (teletypewriter or textphone) or computer connected to a modem.
- To anonymously report criminal activity, contact NSW Police – Crime Stoppers: phone 1800 333 000; or for hearing / speech impaired
TTY: (02) 9211 3776.
- If your report is not urgent and you would like to speak with someone in person, contact your local NSW Police Local Area Command.
- Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking of Humans (ACRATH) can help people seeking refuge and counselling, and provide them with referral contacts. Their details are: (03) 9645 5986 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website acrath.org.au You can read other ideas from ACRATH about taking action here.
Ready to take the next step? Access further resources and contact details here.