The Archdiocese of Perth commenced an Anti-Slavery Working Party since May of this year, with the aim of partnering with all its agencies to tackle the root cause of slavery and eradicate all forms of modern slavery within the Archdiocese.
According to the Modern Slavery Act 2018 Draft Guidance for Reporting Entities document, modern slavery describes situations where “coercion, threats or deception are used to exploit victims and undermine their freedom”. This includes the worst forms of child labour.
The document also reveals eight types of serious exploitation in today’s world.
They are: forced labour, debt bondage (world’s most widespread form of slavery where people borrow money and are forced to work to pay off the debt losing control over the conditions of both their employment and their debt), human trafficking, decent-based slavery (people who are born into slavery), child slavery, forced marriage, and exploitation of migrant workers.
Dr Terry Wilson, Vicar for Social Outreach and Archdiocese Chief Operations Officer, said the committee – consisting of eight representatives from selected Archdiocesan agencies – have been meeting monthly and have been working closely to raise awareness on the issue of modern slavery and its implications.
“The Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act 2018 has just come into force and although we as the Catholic Church of Perth are not obliged to report on what we are doing to end slavery, we are choosing to voluntarily report on our efforts,” Dr Wilson cited.
Some of the working parties efforts, Dr Wilson said, would include working on reducing the Archdiocese’s indirect support of slavery by ensuring all of its procurement of goods and services were from slave free sources by analysing and managing modern slavery risks among Catholic organisations (for example: school uniforms, construction, cleaning or office supplies).
“We also plan to provide professional development and/or training opportunities for Archdiocesan agencies, schools and organisations,” he stated.
“Finally, we hope to develop and implement an Archdiocesan-wide action plan including examining our procurement lines.”
The Anti-Slavery Working Party members include Dr Terry Wilson, Archdiocese of Perth Chief Operations Officer; Deacon Greg Lowe, Director of the Western Australia Catholic Migrant Refugee Office; Peter Magaraggia of Catholic Education Western Australia; Rob Pitt, State Business Development Manager of Procurement Australasia; Deacon Paul Reid, Director of Caritas Australia (Perth Office); Kathy Fagan and Rosa Ranieri of Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (Perth Office); Carol Mitchell, Director of the Justice, Ecology & Development Office; Grace Kurniawan, Office Manager of Catholic Social Services Western Australia; and Amanda Murthy, Archdiocese Communications Office Journalist.
To learn more about Modern Slavery, take the survey and find out ‘how many slaves work for you’ at http://slaveryfootprint.org
This article first appeared in The Record on 08 Aug 2019 and is republished with permission.
By Amanda Murthy