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Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Page: 12579

Ms BURKE (Chisholm) (09:33): I rise to talk about something that we outlawed, for which we put sanctions in place, over 200 years ago—that is, slavery and human trafficking. Tragically, human trafficking and slavery remains the third largest illegal industry in the world today. On 20 November, many churches in my electorate will celebrate Abolitionist Sunday. It is a sad thing that 200 years after William Wilberforce moved his amazing legislation, against the critics in his country, we are still talking about slavery and human trafficking.

Over the last two weeks I have had the pleasure of visiting many groups in my electorate. On Sunday I went to the NewHope Baptist Church, which was celebrating its 60th anniversary. It had a huge stall asking people to get involved in the 'Don't Trade Lives' campaign. I also went and visited World Vision headquarters, which is now in my electorate after the redistribution, and met with a fantastic group of individuals who are part of the 'Don't Trade Lives' campaign. I met with four fantastic students from the Presbyterian Ladies College who are part of the VGen organisation. These girls were inspiring. They are in year 11, going on to year 12. Three of them are doing the IB, so they are taking on a fairly heavy load. Through their school, they are talking about what it means for children to be trafficked and how in this day and age women and children—predominantly—are still being traded as commodities. It is an outrage that in this day and age we are still allowing this to happen.

In the next sitting week, another group will be coming to parliament to talk about Stop the Traffik Australia and to launch a report into the unshackling laws against slavery. How ridiculous that in 2011 we are talking about introducing changes to outlaw slavery. But the statistics speak for themselves. Child labour is likely to interfere with the child's education and development—it exceeds a minimum number of hours and is hazardous. The worst forms of child labour include trafficking, armed conflict, slavery, debt bondage, sexual exploitation and hazardous work. It is estimated that 217.7 million children between the ages of five and seven are doing child labour. Of these, 126 million are in sub-Saharan Africa. Then there are the statistics about adults who are being traded into slavery. Between 500,000 and four million people are trafficked internationally each year. This is an outrage. Another group of amazing women, predominantly Catholic nuns, have also been up to see many of us in parliament to ask us to mention the Harkin-Engel anniversary. We should be stopping this ridiculous trade now.