ACRATH’s National Conference and AGM 2018, February 27 – March 1
Sisters have joined with other religious in a conference that sought to reclaim the vision and plan ongoing action against human trafficking. Two Sisters, Carmel Heagerty RSM and Carole McDonald RSM, have prepared a report below.
ACRATH President, Sister Noelene Simmons sm, presented the Annual Report of the 2017 Activities at the AGM on Tuesday February 27.
A copy has been uploaded to the ACRATH website
The Conference, held at St Joseph’s Baulkham Hills NSW, was attended by 40 Members, a representative from ANZRATH and a couple of colleagues who work closely with ACRATH. The Annual Conference is for ACRATH Members and provides an invaluable opportunity for on-going education and an update of ACRATH’s work from a National perspective. It is also an enriching time for members to experience the strength of belonging to a national organisation and learn more of what is happening in the other States. It is a wonderful opportunity for the Members to explore ACRATH’s Goals 2017-2020 and prioritise areas of work for their own States. Currently there are 14 Mercy Sisters who are members of ACRATH and many more sisters who support the work of ACRATH through their ethical buying, awareness raising and donations.
Working to Eliminate Human Trafficking: Reclaiming the Vision; Planning On-going Action
The Conference Theme was central to the focus of all sessions which incorporated various ideas for furthering action. Presentations and discussions focussed on the areas of Forced Marriage and Supply Chains which are high priorities for ACRATH’s work. The gathering was enriched by the daily Reflections and informal conversations throughout the day and evenings.
The Forced Marriage session presented by Liz Payne, ACRATH Forced Marriage Worker, and Christine Carolan, NEO, provided great insight into Forced Marriage practices and the victims of Forced Marriage in Australia. Forced Marriage is a crime in Australia. Liz highlighted that anyone responding to issues of forced marriage or raising awareness of it, requires knowledge as well as great expertise and sensitivity.
Peter O’Neill ssc, VIC ACRATH Member, provided an international perspective and focussed on the Columban’s work on Eliminating the Exploitation of Overseas Workers in Taiwan. Peter spoke of the issues they identified and the strategies developed to respond to the trafficking. The statistics and constraints experienced by vulnerable migrant workers and those trafficked was challenging information for the participants.
The session on the Supply Chain and Trafficking included insightful and energising presentations by
- Laura McManus, Konica Minolta (Konica Minolta is committed to fulfilling its social responsibility not only in terms of its own products but also throughout the supply chain,* based on relationships of trust with suppliers. https://www.konicaminolta.com/about/csr/csr/suppliers/index.html)
- Jenny Stanger, Salvation Army’s Freedom Partnership to End Modern Slavery http://endslavery.salvos.org.au/
- Lisa McDonald, St Vincent’s Health Australia & ACRATH Project https://acrath.org.au/groundbreaking-anti-slavery-project/
Adrienne Gaille rsj provided an insight into issues being addressed by ANZRATH, Aotearoa New Zealand Religious Against Trafficking In Humans www.anzrath.com/
Noelene Simmons sm gave an update on Talitha Kum, an international network of Consecrated Life against trafficking in persons. http://www.talithakum.info/
ACRATH Conference Inspires Action
Learning About Forced Marriage Sister Adrienne, ANZRATH, speaks about the Forced Marriage session at the ACRATH National Conference.
Prevent Forced Marriage Fr Ray, QLD ACRATH Member, suggests a way to offer support to women who have been forced into a marriage or who may be fearful of this happening.
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