Nuns urge new approaches to human trafficking
A group of religious congregations from around Australia who have prepared a report that calls for a human rights-based, victim-centred approach to human trafficking.
The Report, which is being sent to the United Nations, focuses on victims of human trafficking who have been enslaved and sexually exploited in Australia.
The group, which includes 15 orders of nuns, worked with a pre-eminent expert on human trafficking, Sydney academic, Jennifer Burn of the University of Technology Sydney's Anti-Slavery Project to prepare the report. The sisters have also raised funds to send Ms Burn and Melbourne barrister Georgina Costello to New York City to present the report to the United Nations Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) next Monday.
The Australian Government is also sending a delegation to New York City to present the Government's official report to CEDAW.
Sr Tania De Jong of the Good Shepherd Sisters described human trafficking as a modern day form of slavery.
"To beat this insidious international crime we must find new ways for Government and community groups to work together to understand and respond to the needs of victims and support law enforcement efforts," she said.
The report commends the Australian Government's recent efforts to combat trafficking and calls for further progress to be made.
Sr Louise Cleary, International Congregational Leader of the Brigidine Sisters said: "I hope the Australian Government takes on board the content of our report, which was thoroughly researched and prepared and is informed by our many years of experience providing support and services to vulnerable members of society."
The report urges the UN committee to recommend that the Australian Government:
• Takes a human rights based, victim-centred approach to human trafficking.
• Provides human trafficking victims with visas based on the victim's need for protection and assistance. (Currently the grant of visas to human trafficking victims depends almost entirely on the person's usefulness to criminal investigations and prosecutions).
• Establishes anti-trafficking working groups made up of government, non-government organisations, lawyers and law enforcement to share information and research and develop counter-trafficking initiatives and optimal victim support programs as exist in the USA.
Ms Burn and Ms Costello will address the UN CEDAW committee on Monday and will also attend round table meetings and deliver seminars on human trafficking topics while in New York City.
Breaking habits: Nuns call for new approaches to human trafficking in Australia (Good Shepherd Social Justice Network 16/1/06)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
CEDAW Trafficking Report (Good Shepherd Social Justice Network - PDF)
Trafficking Clearinghouse (Good Shepherd Social Justice Network)
Vatican report says 800 million children exploited (CathNews 10/1/06)
Youth crusader warns on child sex trafficking (CathNews 19/11/04)
17 Jan 2006