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Message from the General Secretary

Sr Elizabeth Delaney sgs

Not in my lifetime!

Perhaps, like me, you have found yourself in conversation with someone about changes that you would like to see – in our society, or in our church. Sometimes the conversation may end with someone lamenting, ‘It won’t happen in my lifetime!’

The 8th of the Sustainable Development Goals - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all – encompasses twelve targets, one of which focuses on modern slavery. It states:

Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.

This topic engaged the leaders of churches who met in Melbourne on Monday, 11 September.  Those present affirmed that this issue provides an opportunity for the churches – at national, provincial/diocesan/synod/state level to commit to and act out of the Lund principle. The Lund principle affirms that churches should act together in all matters except those in which deep differences of conviction compel them to act separately. 

It is unlikely that any Christian would decry the abolition of slavery in the 19th century. Nor is it likely that any would not condemn incident of slavery that is headlined in today’s media. The difficulty is that slavery continues to occur today – in Australia, as well as in other countries – but we have been slow to recognize it as such.  The Australian Freedom Network and Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking of Humans  (ACRATH) are two entities that are spreading the word about the terrible abuses of human dignity. Already a number of our member churches have signed onto the Australian Freedom Network.  Perhaps you might like to explore the issue to which these entities are committed.  Visit ACRATH or Australian Freedom Network.

During the coming months I am hopeful that churches, at all levels, will become more informed, and will take concrete action. Together we can bring an end to modern day slavery . We can act together, so that we see the end of modern-day slavery in our lifetime! 

Sr Elizabeth Delaney sgs

General Secretary