Social issues

Catholic Mission – Is She Safe?

– by Monica Snowball


Human trafficking is not only a real issue overseas, but is also a hidden issue in Australia. It is a modern day business for some, who choose to live their lives enslaving women into a soul destructive industry.

Catholic Mission in Perth have spent recent times focusing on the awareness of the trafficking industry. Particularly, they have observed the effects it has on women in developing countries.

Recently, they held an event called ‘Is She Safe’, which specifically looked at trafficking in Australia, but also internationally. Several speakers touched on the fact that education is the key player in reducing human trafficking as a preventative measure.

130 attended the women only event, including many student leaders from various high schools.

Professor Marietta Latonio from Good Shepherd, Andrea Creado from the Ishar Women’s Multicultural Centre in Perth, Jacinta Cardoza of Pyinya Sanyae Institute of Education in Myanmar and Hang Sreyputh of the Remote Education Project in Battambang Cambodia gave the audience a great understanding of the trade globally, while Professor Jennifer Burn of Anti-Slavery Australia touched on the role in which Australia plays in the human trafficking economy.

Jennifer discussed the idea of forced labour. “We generally think about a women being trafficked to Australia for sexual exploitation,” she says, “Australia is a destination country for human trafficking, which means that people being trafficked end up working in different industries.”

She also touched on the fact that the industry has further lead to child trafficking in Australia. There was a recent case of babies being trafficked into Australia –it makes us dwell on what one human being owes to another.

During the event, it came to light that between 2004 and 2015, the Australian Federal Police received 619 referrals for human trafficking and slavery. However, Australians have now been better to notice the signs of slavery, and assist in the de identification process, reducing the accounts of incidents.

Another study was conducted of sex slavery in the Asian pacific region and the following stats were unveiled – that 48% of sex slaves experienced physical violence or sexual violence or both, and of that number, 40% experienced PTSD.

It is an industry that clearly affects the lives of others deeply. So what can we do to help?

Supply chains are the first step in the process. Every action that we take will have an effect on sex slavery and other human rights issues, from the food we buy down to the clothes that we wear. Obviously, it is difficult to distinguish which industries are involved in human rights abuses, but we can take action by asking business owners if they sell fair trade, or by doing our own research on certain companies.

Education is also crucial. These broader issues will start with political parties and government bodies to improve such systems. However, we can all do our part by educating ourselves, spreading the word and letting others know that this industry is not ok, and needs to be stopped for the benefit of all society.

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