“The world is outraged young girls are being trafficked and sold into slavery. It is a crime against humanity and is something no-one should ever tolerate” said Reverend Dr Lucy Morris CEO Baptistcare and Chairperson, Baptist Care Australia.
In Nigeria in the last two weeks, members of Boku Haram have allegedly kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in the town of Chibok. Over 276 girls were taken in one raid with another 8 taken a few hours later. More attacks are apparently planned. Boku Haram has taken the girls to stop them being ‘Western educated’, an activity they oppose. Like common thieves they also stole livestock and food from the villages they attacked. Boku Haram has threatened to sell the girls into sexual slavery through forced marriage and other means.
The horrifying fact is young girls have been targeted and Australia has taken a while to notice and comment. The rest of the world has been sickened by the actions of this group and is anxiously waiting news of the girls being found.
In Wanneroo, in a northern Perth suburb, raids were conducted earlier this month and 190 illegal and indentured workers were discovered living and working on market gardens. These workers had been forced to live in overcrowded, substandard accommodation with one toilet, raw sewage running across the premises. The links to well known businesses, the likelihood of money laundering and the connection to corrupt and illicit business has been shocking. Charges have been subsequently laid against 19 people. Human slavery is alive and flourishing in Australia.
Human trafficking is also being alleged in Australia’s ‘turn back the boats’ policy as asylum seekers claim additional people were put onto a boat being towed back to Indonesia. If true, the Australian Government could find itself accused of alleged human trafficking.
In all these situations, the United Nations’ warning against slavery including sexual slavery is very clear. In commenting on the girls who had been kidnapped, the UN Human Rights spokesman Rupert Coleville told a news briefing in Geneva: “we warn the perpetrators that there is an absolute prohibition against slavery and sexual slavery in international law. These can, under certain circumstances, constitute crimes against humanity”.
Rupert Coleville added: “This means anyone responsible can be arrested, charged, prosecuted and jailed at any time in the future”.
Global Freedom Network’s recent establishment as a global alliance against human trafficking and slavery also calls on business leaders, governments, religious and community leaders and concerned citizens to lend their voices to protest against this barbaric and totally unacceptable activity.
Baptistcare adds its voice to this fight for justice for these hidden victims, estimated at nearly 30 million around the world. It calls on all concerned individuals and communities to do some simple steps: check what you buy, make sure supply chains are open and honest, do homework on food sources, clothes, household goods and building materials; raise concerns with your leaders; hold businesses, governments and religious leaders to account at every level in any activity that might support and endorse human trafficking and slavery.
Reverend Dr Lucy Morris added: “Let there be no doubt, such an abhorrent trade in human beings, boys, girls, women or men is totally and utterly rejected. We know also that unfortunately the significant majority of those being trafficked are girls and women. There should be nowhere on this earth where this is acceptable.”
Reverend Dr Lucy Morris, CEO