Aussie News

Here is the news from Australia District 9810. Victoria produces a District ‘End Slavery’ Newsletter which is circulated to all Clubs. It’s edited by RAGAS Executive Director and Coordinator for the State of Victoria Tony Stokes. Tony pulls relevant articles from RAGASnews and adds material from other sources to keep Rotarians in his patch informed and engaged. Click on an Issue number to open.

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June 2020

This edition, like all, so brilliantly produced by RAGAS Director Tony, and partner Robyn Stokes of the Box Hill Central Club, Victoria may be the last as it may merge it with RAGAS News. It invites readers to join the RAGAS’ upcoming Breakout Session 14 “Ending Modern Slavery: Engaging new Rotarians” and visit us at the House of Friendship at our virtual 2020 RI Convention; and , provides a call to action from The Alliance 8.7 – Global Partnership to End Forced Labour, Modern Slavery, Human Trafficking and Child Labour: The human rights and labour rights of the most vulnerable must be at the heart of the COVID-19 response….  The COVID-19 pandemic could reverse years of progress towards ending child labour, forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking. Without bold and trans-formative action, the international community will fail to achieve SDG Target 8.7.

Dec 2019

The edition masters on the apparent failures in the monitoring of overseas money transactions by some of the major Australian banks, especially Westpac, which has helped facilitate trafficking and on-line child sexual abuse of children in countries such as the Philippines. It has since acknowledged its failures and is partnering with IJM, the Australian Government and the Finance Industry to help address this terrible crime … more.  It has an item on a pilot campaign at Sydney airport by the Australian Federal Police to raise awareness of forced marriage, an emerging issue in Australia in the fight against modern slavery, and provides information on two projects in Nepal (Project Harmony) and Myanmar (Strengthening & Protecting Child Rights) in which the Operation End Slavery committee of the Rotary Club of Box Hill Central partnered with Tear Australia and International Needs Australia respectively to obtain funding from local and overseas Rotary Clubs and the Rotary Foundation to provide anti-trafficking and child rights awareness education and trainer-training in the local communities. 

June 2019

This Issue of End Slavery features two projects which aim to help and protect some of the most vulnerable in society, our children, one in Northern Karen State,  Myanmar; the other in Philippines. I commend both to your clubs for consideration and support with either any remaining funds from this year’s budget, or for provision in your 2019/2020 budgets. Watch this excellent new Stop the Traffik video tool explaining Modern Slavery (with an Australian focus) which you can use to educate others in your clubs and community groups. Thanks go out to Mark Little (founder Chairman) and Harry Payne (founder Secretary) for their visionary work in setting up and developing RAGAS (formally Racsrag) as they step down from Office after 10 years of devoted action, with a warm welcome to Dave McCleary who becomes the Chairman this year.

March 2019

Another directional edition from Tony and Robyn Stokes following their return from the Slavery Awareness Tour to Cambodia and Thailand in partnership with STOP THE TRAFFIK Australia. Watch Grace Forrest’s address at the 2019 Victorian Rotary Multi District Conference. Do make use of our new local RAGAS flyer for raising awareness of Modern Slavery in your Rotary network.  It is downloadable here. Check out Focus on the Family and Stop the Traffik which provide ways to educate our young people about modern slavery, and some suggested ways you or your Rotary Club can support the work of non-government organisations (NGOs) through child sponsorship and / or end slavery projects.
13 Dec
Praise for Australia’s first federal Modern Slavery Act which was passed on 2nd December – see report. Grace Forrest,
Founding Director of the Walk Free Foundation and recently appointed UNAA Goodwill Ambassador for Anti-Slavery will be a keynote speaker at the 2019 Victorian Rotary Multi District Conference. View a short clip of Grace as she speaks at the One Young World Summit 2018 in The Hague in October
12 Sept

The edition promotes Walk Free’s recently published 2018  Global Slavery Index. It also invites support for a project in
Karen State Myanmar, benefiting 700 children and their families. The project will be undertaken partnership with the
Charity International Needs (Australia). This edition also promotes a prospective Global Grant opportunity sponsored by D5180, Texas – see summary and invites Rotarians to join the 2019 Slavery Awareness trip to Cambodia and Thailand, organised in conjunction with Stop the Traffic. The trip is scheduled for 3rd to 13th February 2019.

11 May
Provides an update on the introduction of the anti-slavery legislation (see article); calls for support for the Harmony Project in Nepal, and the Champassak Project in Laos.
10 Dec
Sungai Kolok, Southern Thailand, Global Grant seeking funding partners. Hidden in Plain Sight, just released, a Parliamentary Inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia, and ethical Christmas shopping guides
9 Sept
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation have jointly updated, extended and published the latest estimate of the World’s enslaved people. Known as the 2017 Global Estimate of Modern Slavery, it suggests there are some 40 million people enslaved. “The 2017 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery are
presented as a contribution to the (UN’s) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular to Target 8.7 which calls for effective measures to end forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking as well as child labour in all its forms”. Also in this Edition ‘End Slavery’ promotes the annual ping-pong-a-thon which raises funds for six worthy anti-slavery charities. It also promotes public interest in the Australian Parliamentary Inquiry into Modern Slavery Act which drew evidence from leading RAGAS Members Malcolm Baird, Tony Stokes and Dr. Gillian Booth. See their RAGAS Submission No 21, which is acknowledged in the Committee’s final report, Hidden in Plain Sight: An inquiry
into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia  published on 7th December 2017.
8 Aug
Released to coincide with the UN World Day Against Human Trafficking (30 July) it includes this link to the latest Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP). This edition is packed with useful links. You can read RAGAS Members (Australia) submission to the Australian Parliamentary Inquiry on Modern Slavery (Item 21) here. Watch the Rotary  international Trafficking Panel session at Rotary Convention in Atlanta. There is an excellent short video from Freedom United (Was Walkfree) on forms of slavery. There are links to four Club project opportunities being organised in Nepal, India, Northern Thailand and Cambodia. There are opportunities to join one of more of three exploratory fields trips organised by Stop the Traffic. India Fashion Field Trip in November 2017, an India Field trip in January 2018 and a further field trip to Thailand/Cambodia in Jan/Feb 2018. Australian Members meet our good friend Matt Friedman (Mekong Business Club) on his recent visit to Melbourne, hosted by Stop the Traffik. View his video ‘Where were You
7 Apr
Editor Tony Stokes explains how to Rotarians can engage and inform debate with the Australian Government as it sets out to inquire into whether it should adopt national legislation to combat modern slavery. Working with Stop the Traffik the edition is supporting a campaign to make it a “Traffik Free Easter” by selecting only brands of chocolate that are ethically produced. View this hard hitting documentary – The Dark side of Chocolate. Better still Share it on your own Facebook page. Help fight cyber sex trafficking in the Philippines through A Rotary Foundation Global Grant (to be featured at RAGAS’s Business meeting in Atlanta; Support Child Rights in Myanmar, and / or support the “Save the Girl child” project
6 Dec
A landmark edition. Supported by short videos, it helps us understand the importance of developing effective supply chain management to root out and eliminate slave labour engaged in the goods and services we buy. It also puts a focus on cybersex trafficking of children in the Philippines, inviting your support for a RAGAS supported global grant project being jointly developed between RC Grants Pass (USA) and RC Metro Manila (Philippines). Editor Tony Stokes, also features 5 other potential projects, in India, Myanmar, and Zambia for Clubs to support.
5   Sept
Tony Stokes introduces a new, more dynamic Newsletter format using MailChimp. There are updates on smaller, affordable project opportunities for Clubs; Welcome to new RAGAS members in Victoria; A BBC article entitled “A Modern day slave in Australia’s suburbs. If you are outside Australia and wish to donate to any one of these $AUD projects you can do so via PayPal, using either the Australian $ (AUD) donate button on the RAGAS Donate page. There is also a very disturbing video report (7.30 mins) on cyber sex trafficking in the Philippines from ABC News Australian cyber sex trafficking ‘most dark and evil  crime we are seeing‘. It features the work done by the International Justice Mission (IJM) to track down and prosecute the perpetrators. NB RAGAS member Irene
Garcia, President of RC Metro Manila and her Club are working with international partnering Club RC Grants Pass and RAGAS Coordinator Caleb Laplant to produce a Global grant to challenge this crime in Manila, supported by IJM.
4 May
Introduces opportunities for Clubs to support five new projects in Rotary year 2016 : View the Newsletter for further details and weblinks
3 Feb
Focuses on the Australian scene with the launch of the Australian Freedom Network by Walk Free founder Andrew Forrest and endorsement by Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. It also includes recent articles from the Australian Press which have highlighted possible unethical practices within the supply chains of some major retailers.
2 Nov
Features a report on the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which includes a declaration “to eradicate forced labour and human trafficking and end child labour in all its forms”.
1 Aug
Introduction to the Newsletter and the topic of child slavery and exploitation as well as an introduction to the Rotarian Action Group against Child Slavery. The headline item is the World Summit to End Human Trafficking that was hosted by Past US President Jimmy Carter and RAGAS Board member Dave McCleary, with RI President Ravi Ravindran as a keynote speaker