Asia region anti-trafficking conference

Day Four 

Yesterday we discussed where trafficking happens, the contributing factors that give rise to the exploitation and the resulting impact. Today we explored the challenges and devised roadmaps for addressing them.

 

Breaking into specific areas of expertise for in-depth discussion, collectively we looked at the different avenues for disrupting human trafficking:

The Legal Route

Advocacy

Prevention and Building Resilient Communities

Social Enterprise and Freedom Businesses  

Engaging with the Business Sector and Supply Chains

Aftercare

Trauma-informed Care

Research

 

In each group we continued the process of collective learning, sharing specialised knowledge of the area to discuss where we want to see future efforts focused and how we see the fight against human trafficking progressing.

 

Building roadmaps, everyone started with the question: what do we do next?

 

Some of the suggested signposts for future anti-trafficking work included:

Building capacity and awareness at grassroots level

More research to drive evidence-based policy

The use of supply chain technology such as LabourLink to give workers a direct channel of communication with companies to report exploitation

Job creation aimed at family members, rather than survivors of trafficking, during recovery

Using the legal system to support whatever conception of justice makes the individual victim feel whole – whether it is compensation, public accountability or moving on with their lives.

 

Roadmap from the Prevention and Building Resilient Communities group   Asked what they took away from the conference and what they learnt, participants noted:   The time was practical and valuable not only to learn new perspectives on potential solutions, but also to surface and agree on joint initiatives that we could implement to close some of the gaps. As a result, coming out of my working group I now have more work to do, but with the momentum of new ideas and new partners.   I learnt that there is work being done to look at more sustainable employment options outside of manufacturing and trades... And hand in hand with that, more about the challenges in ensuring a trauma-based care approach can be managed within a corporate partnership/role...   I think one of my takeaways is that Indonesia has a lot of work to do - we are a desert of resources for trafficking response. My goal is to have a whole table of Indonesians at the next ARAT. I was also encouraged by the many creative ways different sectors are combatting trafficking and how we can collaborate together.   I appreciated how Carolyn said that we can collaborate with people we don't like or trust.  

Roadmap from the Prevention and Building Resilient Communities group

 

Asked what they took away from the conference and what they learnt, participants noted:

 

The time was practical and valuable not only to learn new perspectives on potential solutions, but also to surface and agree on joint initiatives that we could implement to close some of the gaps. As a result, coming out of my working group I now have more work to do, but with the momentum of new ideas and new partners.

 

I learnt that there is work being done to look at more sustainable employment options outside of manufacturing and trades... And hand in hand with that, more about the challenges in ensuring a trauma-based care approach can be managed within a corporate partnership/role...

 

I think one of my takeaways is that Indonesia has a lot of work to do - we are a desert of resources for trafficking response. My goal is to have a whole table of Indonesians at the next ARAT. I was also encouraged by the many creative ways different sectors are combatting trafficking and how we can collaborate together.

 

I appreciated how Carolyn said that we can collaborate with people we don't like or trust.

 

Roadmap devised by the Legal group on the future actions they plan on taking. 

Roadmap devised by the Legal group on the future actions they plan on taking. 

Asia Region Anti-Trafficking Conference

Day Three

Today took a very different approach to the last two days. The morning kicked off with a reminder from STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Carolyn and Fuzz Kitto of the upmost importance of working together and helping one another to fulfil the role each of us has in the fight against human trafficking. Each stakeholder has a responsibility to support and empower other stakeholders to ensure everyone is able to play their specific part in a broad, complex picture that none of us can complete alone.  

 

The primary aim of today was to share our collective expertise. This started with speed networking; getting to talk with people in the room and hear about the work others are doing.

 

Today’s shared learning focused on ten key issues: child sex trafficking, adult sex trafficking, forced marriage, forced labour in the fishing industry, forced labour in the construction industry, domestic workers, migrants, refugees, policy and legal.

 

The first session took a world café approach – each table talked about one issue for 5-10 minutes before rotating onto a new issue – enabling everyone to briefly discuss a number of forms of trafficking. Ideas, both on the underlying causes that contribute to trafficking and the subsequent impact of trafficking on the individual, their family and their community, where compiled on one sheet that each new group added to as they discussed the specific issue. Many of us know more about one topic than another so the world café style of discussion provided space to explore areas beyond our own expertise, while drawing on our existing knowledge.

 

What struck me from the diagrams produced during the world café was the overlap between different forms of trafficking. While all fall under the broad umbrella of exploitation, experiences of trafficking are widely different and individual specific. Even within the same form, experiences belong on a spectrum of exploitation - for example, for those who have been trafficked for labour purposes, some will be paid but have their documents withheld, thus impeding their ability to leave, whereas others will never be paid.  Yet despite the range of experiences of trafficking, many of the push factors that leave people vulnerable and many of the consequences of trafficking identified nevertheless overlap across multiple forms of trafficking.

 

After lunch we delved more deeply into the specific forms of trafficking discussed at the world café. Six groups were formed, based on area of expertise; sex trafficking; forced marriage; forced labour (fishing and construction industries); domestic workers; migrants and refugees; policy and legal.

 

The facilitators of each group ask everyone to share their work by identifying a) where they work, b) what kind of work their organisation does and c) where they have identified trafficking routes. These were all depicted on maps, creating a powerful visual tool of the work being done by conference participants and which regions are source areas and which are destinations.

 

Devised through contributions from everyone at the conference on their specific area of expertise, these maps became an impressive representation of the different forms of trafficking across Asia and the work being done to address the problem – as well as the remaining gaps and challenges identified by the organisations present.

 

As today was a day centred around learning from one another, rather than from a speak on a stage, I want to share a few of what conference participants volunteered as knowledge they had learnt at the conference so far:

we must invest in people!

not to speak to them [survivors of trafficking] as though they have a problem; the wholeness for recovery from trauma

need for robust compensation mechanisms

use of technology for disrupting trafficking

Brain storming on the push factors for and consequences of labour trafficking for domestic work during the world cafe session 

Brain storming on the push factors for and consequences of labour trafficking for domestic work during the world cafe session 

Defamation charges used to stop victims and activists from reporting

Fourteen migrant workers are facing up to one and a half year of imprisonment and/or fines of up to 30,000 Thai baht (US$900) for criminal defamation and other charges brought by Thammakaset Co. Ltd. The workers allege that the company seriously violated their rights. Migrant rights activist Andy Hall also faces criminal defamation charges related to the case. The use of defamation laws to go after investigators and workers seeking to document how companies in Thailand violate national labor laws and workers’ rights has a chilling impact on research into corporate supply chains. 

STOP THE TRAFFIK is one of 87 organisations who have written to the Prime Minister of Thailand on this matter. You can read the letter at this link http://bit.ly/2yWh7Jt

Asia Region Anti-Trafficking Conference

Asia Region Anti-Trafficking Conference

The first Asia Region Anti-Trafficking Conference is underway. 200 people from 17 countries. 

Chad Dai’s Helen Sworn opened the event with the reminder that the coming days are an opportunity to learn from one another, to share how we have succeeded and where we failed in the fight against human trafficking. At the core of the opening evening was the reiteration of the importance of collaboration and partnership. Alone, no single body will end human trafficking. Only together do we stand the chance of making change happen. 

Human organ Trafficking and Organ Transplant Tourism

Human organ Trafficking and Organ Transplant Tourism

The Australian Parliament is undertaking an Inquiry into Human Organ Trafficking and Organ Transplant Tourism. The questions for the Inquiry are whether current Australian Organ Trafficking should have extraterritorial application, that is whether laws should apply to Australian's when they are overseas. It is also looking at whether Australia should accede to a Council of Europe Convention.

You might not be aware that there has actually been an instance of this crime in Australia. With a growing aging population the possibility of increasing numbers of Australian's going overseas for organ transplants is very real.

Calling for a Robust Modern Slavery Act

Calling for a Robust Modern Slavery Act

The United Nations defines trafficking in persons as

‘the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people through the use of threats, force, coercion, abduction, fraud or deception, for the purpose of exploitation.’ 

Slavery is defined internationally as

the condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised, including where such a condition results from a debt or contract made by the person.'

These definitions form the basis of the Australian crimes of human trafficking and slavery in the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

Establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia

Establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia

On Wednesday, 15 February 2017 the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, asked the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade to inquire into and report on Establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia.Submissions supporting such an Act were invited from the public. 185 individuals,  organisations and businesses made submissions including STOP THE TRAFFIK and other like-minded groups. A series of public hearings has commenced, offering an opportunity for any interested person to hear summaries of these submissions followed by a brief Q and A between the presenters of their submission summaries and the Senators on the committee.

A Modern Slavery Act in Australia?

A Modern Slavery Act in Australia?

On Wednesday, 15 February 2017, the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, asked the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade to inquire into and report on establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia.  Both modern slavery on Australian shores and offshore slavery fall within the scope of the inquiry. This blog examines the need and purpose of an Australian Modern Slavery Act in relation to offshore modern slavery.

‘When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.'

‘When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.'

‘When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.’ This is one of Antonie Fountain from the VOICE Network’s favourite sayings. For a long time we have said that certification systems such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ offer external verification against international standards that best practices are being upheld and they have been the best tools we have. Everyone acknowledges that they are not perfect and that they can’t do everything but they have been the best we have had.

How to Have a Guilt Free Christmas

Christmas time is a wonderful time of the year where Australians gather and celebrate with millions of extra dollars spent on food and presents. It’s easy to get distracted in the hustle and bustle, and find yourself not considering where all of your produce and gifts come from, and who is making them. Unfortunately, whenever there is an increase in demand for a product, such as Christmas time, it means there is a higher demand on sweatshops and farmers for toys and produce. However, we as consumers, have the power through our wallets to create the demand and make choices on products that are ethically and responsibly produced. In this article, I go through just a couple of areas where we can make easy guilt-free decisions that support local producers, and help us have an ethical Christmas!

Rana Plaza – Three years on from the factory collapse

Rana Plaza – Three years on from the factory collapse

April 24 marks the three year anniversary of one of the worst industrial disasters in the world. In 2013, a garment factory on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed killing 1100 people.  The factory was one of many in Bangladesh’s large apparel manufacturing industry, producing clothes exclusively for consumption in the west. I went there in January, as a supply chain consultant, I wanted to see for myself the truth about the worst of what can happen in sourcing our materials across a complex – and often exploitative - supply chain.

Human Trafficking in the Fashion Industry - Take Action Now

Human Trafficking in the Fashion Industry - Take Action Now

Did you know that a young girl of 14 may have been trafficked to make your cotton t-shirt? Did you also know that you have the power to stop that from happening?

The 18-22nd of April is Fashion Revolution week and it is a great way for people to raise awareness and take action against the trafficking of people in the clothing industry.

#makefashiontraffikfree

There are so many sad, bad stories!

There are so many sad, bad stories!

There are so many sad, bad stories! Everyone we have met with tells that it exists and that some attempts are being made to do something about it. There is scepticism amongst many that it will only be a superficial attempt at change. Corruption is the key dynamic. Human trafficking and forced labour is in the Prawn peeling factories, the fishing boats for the fishmeal for the prawn farms particularly and is widespread.

Vignettes from India

Vignettes from India

Baptist World Aid: Our Advocacy Team have recently returned from India; a trip which deepened our understanding of modern day slavery and human trafficking at Baptist World Aid Australia. They saw, first hand, the impact of the incredible work our Christian Partner has been doing in at risk communities and spent time connecting with survivors of trafficking and slavery.  These are the stories they brought home with them...