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Fighting modern day slavery

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As the world pauses to recognise World Day Against Trafficking in Persons today, the Adelaide Archdiocese has reinforced its commitment to fighting modern day slavery.

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At a prayer gathering held in the Cathedral Hall this morning, acting Chancellor Sarah Moffatt said the Archdiocese was in the process of reviewing its top 20 suppliers and their chain of supply to ensure they were using only slavery-free products. She said the Archdiocese had also recently joined the Australian Catholic Anti-Slavery Network, which is at the forefront of efforts to eradicate modern slavery both nationally and globally.

Ms Moffatt told staff in attendance that it was estimated 40 million people in the world were victims of human trafficking.

They include men and women trafficked into forced labour in factories, agricultural fields, hospitality and domestic servitude; children who are trafficked to pick coffee or work in dangerous mines; and young girls, boys and women trafficked into sexual exploitation in brothels, dance bars and the pornography industry.

“The current COVID-19 crisis is impacting on people most vulnerable to trafficking because they often live in poverty and lack suitable housing and healthcare,” Ms Moffatt said.

“Forced labour and human trafficking happens in every country including Australia. It is a billion dollar industry.

“Yet behind all the statistics is a human person and their story.”

When giving the closing blessing, Archbishop Patrick O’Regan said the fight against human trafficking highlighted the need to have a “generous heart, an open heart, a heart that is ready and vulnerable enough to make sure that those who have no voice can have a place in our heart”.

Joining the today’s gathering were Sr Anne Tormey RSM from the SA committee of Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH), Jason Gillick (representing Katrine Hildyard MP), and Associate Professor Marinella Marmo from Flinders University.

In 2019 Dr Marmo released findings of a study undertaken with colleagues Alexandra Baxter and Dr Tormey that looked at the problem of modern slavery and human trafficking in South Australia. The study found that migrant workers and international students were particularly at risk.

Last week Ms Hildyard gave notice to the South Australian Parliament that she would move to establish a parliamentary committee to examine the prevalence of modern slavery and slavery-like practices in the State.

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