ACRATH advocating in Federal parliament
members have once again walked the halls of Australian Federal Parliament advocating on behalf of people who are trafficked into slavery.
During the visit, on July 29 and 30, a team of ACRATH advocates not only continued their advocacy and lobbying work, but they also congratulated Parliamentarian representatives for passing the Modern Slavery Act 2018
While The Modern Slavery Act is an achievement in the fight against human trafficking and slavery there is still more work to be done. ACRATH continues to request three major things:
1. Eliminate Forced Labour in Australia
- ACRATH calls on the Minister for Finance to allocate an Act of Grace payment of $107,900 to 22 Vanuatu men exploited by a labour hire firm in Australia. The Federal Court’s conviction of the labour hire firm for the “egregious exploitation” of 22 Vanuatu workers shows vulnerable foreign workers exploited in Australia while employed under the Australian Government’s Seasonal Worker Program, a part of the Australian aid to the Pacific. The $107,900 would address the non-payment of the workers’salaries, and the theft of their airfares and spending money.
- ACRATH calls on the government to implement the recommendation of Prof Allan Fels’ Migrant Workers’ Taskforce to introduce a national labour hire registration scheme. ACRATH notes the Government’s in principle agreement to the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce recommendations; we believe this will address in part the exploitation currently being experienced by overseas workers and help to realise Goals 1.3 and 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
2. Boost Australian Overseas Development Assistance (ODA)
- Australia currently spends just 0.21% of its gross national income, or 21 cents in every $100 (www.lowyinstitue.org.au), on Australian aid. ACRATH calls on the Government to boost the amount of Australia’s Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) and to target ODA on the elimination of the causes of human trafficking, projects addressing the SDGs 1 and 17.
3. Funding for NGOs
- ACRATH’s work has been compromised by not receiving Home Affairs funding for the past 12 months. We believe that occasional, ad hoc and only 12 month funding of NGOs makes it difficult for NGOs to achieve their work of crime prevention, advocacy and support for trafficked people. The model used in the past two years to award funding puts us in competition with other counter trafficking NGOs; this is counter productive.
- We seek one commitment:
ACRATH calls for the inclusion of a 3-5 year funding schema in the Home Affairs departmental budget under the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and Slavery. This would enable funded NGOs to undertake their work supporting government initiatives in a transparent, systematic and productive way.
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