People who work at DETA Consulting are passionate about making the world a better place. In this blog post we take a look at some of the volunteering work Tony has been doing while occasionally making use of DETA’s Employer Supported Volunteering Policy.
5 years ago my wife went to a presentation on human trafficking and modern day slavery. The things she found out made our heads spin.
Could it be true? Are there really more people in slavery today than at any other time in history?
The more we investigated, the worse it got. We discovered that slavery is a disease infecting the supply chain of many of the products we buy (electronics, clothing, fish, chocolate etc), making us complicit in the misery of around 40 million people worldwide.
We decided we had to do something. And so Traffick JAM began. Traffick JAM is our group of half a dozen volunteers who meet up monthly to kick around ideas of strategic things we can do to help bring about the end of modern day slavery.
One of the biggest obstacles in tackling slavery is that many of us are completely oblivious to the fact that slavery is even still a thing. And still more of us don’t realise that some of our purchasing decisions reward the people who are committing this crime.
At Traffick JAM we look for ways to make more people aware of modern day slavery, so that more people will care about it. As this begins to happen society and systems should naturally start to change, leading to the rescue and restoration of people who are being exploited.
With this aim in mind, on Saturday the 19th of October we hosted the A21 Walk For Freedom at Mount Maunganui. The Mount Maunganui A21 Walk For Freedom was one of seven marches held in New Zealand (all organised by volunteers like us), kicking off the largest international rally against slavery of its kind. Over the next 24 hours, walks were held in more than 500 cities in over 50 countries around the world. Tens of thousands of people joined in globally, raising awareness of the problem of modern day slavery, and raising funds for A21, one of several great organisations working hard to rescue people, restore them, and prosecute the perpetrators.
It was a fantastic event to be involved in with around 100 people joining the walk, as well as roughly 20 volunteers helping out on the day to make it a success.
But slavery isn’t just an overseas issue. The Global Slavery Index estimates there are 3,000 people trapped in various forms of slavery right here in New Zealand.
There were 8 convictions for human trafficking in New Zealand between 2018 and 2019, and 50 victims of human trafficking have been identified since 2014. The Bay of Plenty, where we live, seems to contribute more than our fair share when it comes to cases of slavery. This is largely thanks to our reliance on migrant labour in the horticulture industry, as new immigrants can be particularly vulnerable to exploitation.
To better understand the local situation we have recently started attending meetings of the Tauranga Migrant Settlement Network, hosted by MBIE. These meetings involve numerous government bodies and NGOs involved with helping immigrants settle into the Bay of Plenty. A regular topic on the agenda is “Prevention of migrant exploitation and people trafficking” led by intelligence analysts from Immigration NZ.
One of the key takeaways from the first meeting I attended was that anytime MBIE has gone looking into any sector for exploitation they’ve found it to be present. There is plenty of exploitation going on, so to make the most of their limited resources they rely heavily on information coming in from the public. If you become aware of anything that looks like exploitation please let them know. Or, if you think MBIE might not be the right people for the type of exploitation you think is going on, then check out some of the other options to report it here.
Unfortunately New Zealand doesn’t yet have a simple 0800 number to call for all forms of slavery and human trafficking, but that is something that we at Traffick JAM are investigating.
The numbers can seem overwhelming, but they don’t have to be. Let’s put it in perspective: If there are 40 million people in slavery, then for every 1 person in slavery there are 191 of us who are not in slavery, and we can work together to get them out of slavery. If enough of us decide to, we can end slavery in our lifetime.
At Traffick JAM we’re excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for how we can use our time and skills strategically to do our part in bringing about the end to slavery. We can’t do everything ourselves in our spare time, but we can do something.
If you would like to find out more about modern day slavery and how you can get involved in bringing about its end, then a great place to start is with the resources listed at: traffickjam.nz/know