Sr Colleen Jackson on the Forum on Human Trafficking in RomePrint
The headline was shocking: “Anti-trafficking group loses Government funding.” But ACRATH is fighting back and has launched a national fund-raising appeal after the announcement from the Federal Government revealed that it would not be funding the organisation this year.
ACRATH’s $125,000 one-year grant from the Federal Government ran out on June 30, 2018. Executive Officer Christine Carolan said ACRATH was hopeful of further Government funding in the future, but for now is completely reliant on the generosity of the community to continue working to combat modern day slavery and forced marriage. (From Catholic Outlook)
The support of ACRATH by the Sisters of Charity of Australia is long standing and continues. And never has there been a greater need, nationally and internationally, for this highly respected organisation.
At the invitation of Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, and representing ACRATH, Sr Colleen Jackson rsc joined 28 other international delegates at the Forum on Human Trafficking in Rome from July 4 to 6.
In February this year, the Vatican Migrants and refugees Section organised a consultation on Human Trafficking and invited Church leaders, expert practitioners, and scholars to share their concerns, identify challenges, and propose solutions.
(The Vatican Migrants and Refugees Section was set up by Pope Francis to give special attention to pastoral responses to challenges which face migrants and refugees). Following the February consultation the M&R Section drafted a document that will form the basis of new guidelines similar to “Refugees and Migrants: 20 Pastoral Action Points on Refugees” At the July Forum, Conferences of Catholic Bishops from around the world were invited to critique the draft Guidelines in preparation for the publication of the final document, due for release in September 2018.
“Human trafficking is not just an issue for countries outside Australia” said Sr Colleen after her Rome visit, which included meeting with Talitha Kum, an International network of networks against Trafficking in Persons founded by the International Union of Superiors General in 2009. Sr Colleen is the Oceania representative on the Talitha Kum International Coordination Committee.
“We have critical issues in Australia and our region … issues which include, for example, slavery and slavery-like practices in supply chains of goods that Australians use every day, domestic servitude, sexual slavery, and forced marriage. Human trafficking and slavery affect a wide range of people across ages, genders and religions. It is estimated that currently at least 15,000 people in Australia are subject to slavery or slavery-like practices.”
“ACRATH does immense work here in Australia, and is a major force in advocating and campaigning to combat human trafficking, and support victims of human trafficking and forced marriage. It has been a major contributor to the Modern Slavery Bill currently before our Australian Parliament”.
“This Forum reinforced for me the connection between displacement and human trafficking. And it brought home the enormity of the problem we face now. We Australians must do our part in combatting this evil practice” Sr Colleen said. (Nearly 70 million people are now displaced internationally, fleeing conflicts eg in Syria, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan.)
Donations to ACRATH can be made via direct deposit into the ACRATH Public Fund or by post. Cheques payable to ACRATH Public Fund and posted to:
ACRATH National Office, 54 Beaconsfield Pde, Albert Park, 3206.
Direct Deposit: 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.