Modern slavery toolkit will help Catholics beat the scourge

modern slavery

Modern slavery practices in Australia are in for some hard-nosed opposition.

A newly released toolkit aims to help Catholic parishioners in Brisbane stamp out exploitation practices.

It also aims to raise parishioners’ awareness of the significant presence of slavery in Australia today.

Brisbane archdiocese’s Legal, Governance and Risk team developed the modern slavery toolkit in conjunction with the Australian Catholic Anti-Slavery Network.

The horrible truth

There are an estimated 41,000 people experiencing modern slavery in Australia.

Worldwide, there are about 50 million enslaved to others.

About 54 per cent are women and children. They are often trapped in forced labour arrangements or forced marriages.

The modern slavery toolkit

The Evangelisation Brisbane Inclusion team says the modern slavery toolkit was released during Laudato Si’ Week.

Timing it in this way was a “concrete step in empowering our agencies to act ethically in our world”.

The toolkit includes strategies and procedures to help the agencies function, while caring for people vulnerable to exploitation and slavery.

“It is now important that all in the Archdiocese use these strategies and continue our dedication to eliminating modern slavery in all its forms” the team says.

The toolkit includes a guide about how certain consumer-lifestyles and goods are more likely to rely on modern slavery practices than others.

A calculator which can be used to work out “how many slaves work for you” is included in the toolkit guide.

A lifestyle example the toolkit presents is that of the “modern mum”. The calculator estimates 66 slaves work for her.

It calculates 3.5 slaves to produce a pram, milk bottles use 1.1 slaves and nappy bags 1.4 slaves apiece.

The number of slaves used to produce goods quickly adds up if ethically-sourced goods are not sought.

Australia’s slaves

In Australia, certain industries are most likely to be staffed by slaves.

Those at greatest risk of modern slavery are likely to work in agriculture, meat processing, cleaning, security, hospitality and construction sectors.

They are also likely to be duped by industries that use labour hire and multi-tiered subcontracting.

These industries rely on vulnerable people.

Their workforces include temporary migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, working holiday makers, international students and sponsored workers from the Pacific.

Learn, help, share concerns

Brisbane’s Catholic parishioners are being encouraged to learn more about modern slavery and its risk factors.

They are also being encouraged to celebrate the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint of victims of modern slavery and human trafficking.

Parishioners can contact the Sydney archdiocese agency Domus 8.7 if they are concerned about someone in their community at risk of or experiencing modern slavery.


  • Catholic Leader


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