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Brief Report on Opposing Human Trafficking October Conference Call Meeting

October 9, 2017

Members of the MIA-Global Action working group on Opposing Human Trafficking from Australia, Ireland and America met via conference call on October 3rd. Reports from members were circulated prior to the call providing the opportunity to share initiatives and best practice and to alert the group to concerns and emerging issues.

MIA-MGA at the UN
The Congregation (MECPATHS)
Mercy Investments

The group welcomed two new members, Ashling Murray and Ann Mara who are working on the Irish Congregation’s anti-trafficking initiative MECPATHS (Mercy Efforts to Counter Child Prostitution and Abuse in the Hospitality Sector)

Some valuable information and insights from the meeting included the following:
  • Several big multi-national firms are checking the movement of their staff across borders, to ensure that they have not been trafficked. These firms are also auditing service providers, to ensure that their lines of supply are slave-free.
  • There are labour issues linked with human trafficking or slavery reflecting human rights abuse e.g. carpet making industry in some countries. In the USA two large retail chains Targets and Macys, have committed only to sell carpets with the ‘Good Weave’ label, which indicates fair and just working conditions.
  • Hoteliers who train their staff in the protection and care of children on their premises and have a certificate to prove this, are being promoted on the web over other hotels
  • Review of the Global Plan of Action at the UN. See Angela Reed’s report from MIA-GA in NY.
  • The development of the Mercy International Reflection Process that is unfolding into Mercy Global Presence initiative has as one of its key foci ‘the displacement of people’. The dark side of this reality is linked with people smuggling and trafficking in humans.
  • In the USA major health care systems are providing training for their front line staff teams i.e. in the emergency room, to recognise the signs of a child who may have been trafficked.
  • Mercy Investment Services has been actively involved in the training of over 100,000 truckers, a tremendous achievement. They have extended their programme to a number of airlines, to ensure staffs are on the alert and recognise the signs of a possible young trafficking victim.

We finished the meeting acknowledging the solid, professional and consistent work of members of the Mercy Family across the globe. Their efforts together with the broader network in raising awareness, supporting trafficked victims and advocating for appropriate policy change at national and international levels i.e. the UN, is making a difference. The challenge of addressing ‘demand’ adequately is still paramount, if we are to eliminate human trafficking.

Denise Boyle fmdm
Team Leader MIA-Global Action
4th October 2017.