NZ Catholics challenged to help end slavery

Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn and John McCarthy at the Bishop’s Lunch in Auckland (NZ Catholic)

John McCarthy QC has called on New Zealand Catholics to help eradicate modern slavery by ensuring the government, private sector and Church agencies stop supporting goods and services tainted with forced labour. Source: NZ Catholic.

By Rowena Orejana, NZ Catholic

In his speech at the first Bishop’s Lunch in Auckland Diocese, hosted by Bishop Patrick Dunn, the former Australian Ambassador to the Holy See said more than 40 million men, women and children around the world are trapped in modern forms of slavery.

“I’m looking for the heroes in New Zealand. I want to see if the Church can start leading the way… (slavery) is one of the great crimes of our times and we’ll get rid of it in our generation,” he said.

Mr McCarthy is chair of the Anti-Slavery Task Force of the Sydney Archdiocese and a founder and co-chair of the G20 Interfaith Forum Anti-Slavery, Human Trafficking and Forced Labour Taskforce 2018.

He stressed this issue was very close to the heart of Pope Francis.

“Modern slavery (and forced labour) is a $US180 billion per annum industry, according to the International Labour Organisatoin and over 40 million men, women and children are shackled in this dreadful condition,” he said.

“That money and the virtual impunity of their actions must be stripped from . . . these exploiters. This is the cry for freedom of our generation, the people’s cry for freedom which we must answer.”

Mr McCarthy said Australia’s Modern Slavery Act could give New Zealanders the chance to press the NZ Government to stop procuring slavery-tainted goods and services.

The Act requires big corporations to report the exposure of their goods or services to slavery as well as the exposure of their supply chains. This Act covers 500 New Zealand corporations doing business in Australia.

“Corporate Australia said to its government, ‘no, we are not doing it without you’,” Mr McCarthy said.

This stand, supported by the Catholic Church in Australia, pressured the Australian Government to look into its own procurement and supply procedures as well.

“I would have thought corporate New Zealand would say the same message to the (NZ) Government,” he said.

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NZ Catholics challenged to help end slavery (NZ Catholic

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