Working with Project Futures
This quarter we initiated conversations with a local not for profit that works to support women and girls affected by human trafficking and slavery. PROJECT FUTURES connects people to the issue by creating meaningful experiences that raise funds, educate and empower others to take action, ensuring that women and girls in Australia and Cambodia are supported to overcome extreme trauma and abuse.
Of the 45.8 million people enslaved globally, around two-thirds are located in the Asia Pacific region and Australia is no exception with an estimated 4,300 experiencing slavery or slavery-like conditions. According to Walk Free Foundation, globalisation has resulted in a demand for cheap labour and modern slavery is often hidden within a vast array of supply chains, often a long way from the country where the goods themselves are sold. We are (unwittingly) gaining from the exploitation of workers in countries were poverty is rife and the rule of law is negligent at best.
But the issue is much more complex than we may first perceive and not limited to supply chains and situations of forced labour, debt bondage or the exploitation of workers. Forced and early marriage affects around 14 million girls under the age of 18 every year, a legacy of entrenched age and gender-based discrimination.
According to a report released by the Interdepartmental Committee on human trafficking and slavery, there were 169 new referrals to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in 2015-2016, with 69 related to Forced Marriage; more than double to number of reports from 2014-2015.
But the scope of the problem is so much bigger, with approximately 70% going unreported. People who have experienced forced marriage or the threat of forced marriage may suffer psychological trauma, increased risk to family violence, decreased access to education and work opportunities, financial dependence, forced labour and health issues associated with forced and early pregnancy.
On the 12 November, OCM will lend it’s support to this cause by sponsoring a High Tea hosted by PROJECT FUTURES in aid of the only supported accommodation service in Australia for victims of trafficking. The event will profile the issue of forced and early marriage in Australia to an audience of close to 200 people with an expert panel discussion to form the central part of the day.
If you are interested in purchasing tickets, you can do so through this link.
We are proud to be working with PROJECT FUTURES to shine a light on this issue and share what we learn with our network.