WelCom October 2020
Sr Francine McGovern sm
Talitha Kum is a network of sisters, brothers and lay people that raises awareness and acts against human trafficking and slavery around the world. Talitha Kum Aotearoa New Zealand was established in 2012.
The group invited Julianne Hickey and Joanne Viernes of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand to speak at a public meeting about how economic structures permit modern slavery. The meeting, held at St Joseph’s School Hall, Upper Hutt, on September 1, discussed where exploitation might occur locally and how to recognise and report any concerns.
Exploitative scenarios of temporary migrant workers and international students were discussed. The audience was told that industry sectors where exploitation might occur included construction, sex work, hospitality, illicit drug trade, dairy, horticulture, maritime, landlords, as well as the homestay industry. Covid-19 has meant some people on temporary work visas and ship workers are also at risk of exploitation.
A number of cases of migrant worker exploitation in New Zealand have been widely publicised. In 2019 an investigation into telecommunications company, Chorus, resulted in them blacklisting 38 sub-contracting companies to stamp out migrant exploitation among its suppliers. In July this year, a man living in Hastings was found guilty of 10 charges in human trafficking and 13 charges in dealing in slaves.
We can support migrant workers by engaging with them, listening to their stories and finding out more about their situations. The Caritas booklet, ‘Stand up for what’s right – supporting migrant workers’, provides useful information and includes migrant-worker experiences within the Archdiocese of Wellington.
If you are aware of or suspect someone has been trafficked, call:
Police on 105 or 111 (in an emergency) or go online to 105.police.govt.nz
Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111 or fill out a form at crimestoppers-NZ.org
To report worker exploitation call: Employment New Zealand on 0800 20 90 20.