Brisbane Archdiocese moves to combat modern slavery

An image of Sudanese St Josephine Bakhita is carried in procession during a prayer service led by Pope Francis in St Peter’s Basilica (CNS)

Brisbane Archdiocese is taking bold new steps to combat modern slavery through ethical business practices, as the Church yesterday marked the feast of St Josephine Bakhita. Source: The Catholic Leader.

Yesterday was the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita, a one-time slave who became the patron saint of victims of modern slavery and human trafficking.

An estimated 40.3 million people are enslaved in the world today with the highest number in the Asia Pacific Region.

Even in Australia there are 15,000 victims, trapped in forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage or human trafficking.

These acts of modern slavery can be closer than you think. A Brisbane man and women faced court last Friday after Queensland police found four women allegedly subjected to sexual servitude, stupefying drugs and branding tattoos in a Mt Gravatt home, and police are now investigating whether there are more victims.

The Brisbane Archdiocese will reshape the way Church agencies do business with two new documents, Archdiocesan Modern Slavery Policy and Archdiocesan Modern Slavery Guidelines.

Signed off by Auxiliary Bishop Ken Howell, the new policies and guidelines forbid any worker exploitation and make it mandatory to report any actual or suspected exploitation. Anti-slavery clauses shall be incorporated into procurement tenders and contracts that include the right to audit, review document and interview workers.

The new policies introduce anti-slavery awareness to supply chains to ensure that goods and services procured from around the world are sourced ethically.

“We really need to lead the way and this gives us a good start,” Brisbane archdiocese’s governance, risk and compliance officer Phil Colley said.

FULL STORY

Brisbane archdiocese moves to end modern slavery as Church marks feast of St Josephine Bakhita (By Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader

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