Modern slavery survivor Moe Turaga has been presented with a 2023 Anti-Slavery Australia Freedom Award in recognition of his work as a survivor advocate. Source: Australian Catholic Anti-slavery Network.
Mr Turaga has had a long relationship with Australian Catholic Anti-slavery Network program managers, who nominated him for the award. His story of modern slavery in Australia was recently documented in a video by Australian Catholic University. He also gave a keynote address to attendees at the Freedom Awards, hosted by Anti-slavery Australia at the University of Technology Sydney at the weekend.
In his address, Mr Turaga briefly outlined his experience of modern slavery in Australian horticulture at the age of 17 after being deceptively recruited by a relative. He worked two years without pay before escaping with the help of farmers he met at a local church.
Many years later, Mr Turaga learned first-hand of the death of British backpacker Mia Ayliffe-Chung through her mother Rosie Ayliffe’s campaign to improve conditions for working holiday makers on Australian farms. It was this encounter that inspired Mr Turaga to speak about his own experiences.
“It was God’s timing for me to stand up and tell my story in hope that it will provide some assistance to the modern slavery conversation,” Mr Turaga said.
He became an active participant in advocating for the Modern Slavery Act 2018.
Mr Turaga dedicated his award to Rosie Ayliffe, Mia Ayliffe-Chung, other survivors, his Fijian community and other supporters including his “Catholic anti-slavery family.”
In his remarks, Mr Turaga called for a Commonwealth Anti-slavery Commissioner and asked the audience to get behind forthcoming amendments to the Modern Slavery Act review.
ACAN Program Manager, Alison Rahill said Mr Turaga “has shown great courage and commitment to ending modern slavery in his local community, on the national stage and in empowering other survivors. He is very deserving of recognition”.
Slavery Survivor Wins Award (ACAN)