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Friday, 12 December 2014 11:16

National Roundtable addresses ACRATH concerns

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ACRATH National Roundtable150Sister Noelene Simmons sm and Ms Christine Carolan represented Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) at the recent National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery in Canberra on 2 December 2014, sharing the belief with other NGOs in attendance that significant gains on important issues were made regarding human trafficking.

The National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery met in Canberra on 2 December 2014. ACRATH was represented by Noelene Simmons sm and Ms Christine Carolan. Noelene and Christine met with other NGOs after the Roundtable and shared their belief that there has been significant movement on issues named as important for the NGOs, eg visa titles and entitlements, and access to English classes.

ACRATH was delighted by the announcement that people on the permanent trafficking visa can now access AMEP English classes and that there will be no 104 week waiting period! Other issues of concern raised were the need for just compensation for people trafficked into Australia, flexible entry and exits from the Support for Trafficked People Program, and access to support for people facing forced labour, particularly in regional agriculture.

The Roundtable was preceded by a breakfast launch attended by three Ministers, all of whom in conversation acknowledged ACRATH work and commitment. Genny Ryan osu, our ACRATH ACT Convenor, was also invited to the breakfast. The three ACRATH members used the opportunity to network with other invitees on various matters of concern to ACRATH, eg forced marriage issues and human trafficking recognition by health care professionals. The Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan, launched the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and Slavery 2015 - 19. The Minister also launched the Forced Marriage Community Pack; both the plan and the pack are available in soft copy on the AGD website.

This article was first published in the ACRATH December 2014 Newsletter.

Read more about the work of Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH), a project endorsed by Catholic Religious Australia.