World Vision Australia has launched a practical guide to ethical purchasing to help Australian churches make better choices about the everyday products they purchase to reduce the demand for human trafficking.
Some items commonly used in Australia like tea, coffee, chocolate, and cleaning products are produced using exploited labour from vulnerable men, women and children who endure working long hours in poor conditions for little or no pay. Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar business and occurs when men, women and children are exploited for profit including forced labour, sexual exploitation and domestic servitude.
Children are particularly vulnerable, with approximately 168 million children globally forced to work, which affects their health, development and education.
World Vision Australia’s chief executive, Rev Tim Costello, said while human trafficking and child labour was abhorrent to the values and morals of Australians, inadvertently many daily purchases were actually encouraging it.
“Our demand for cheap goods and services encourages the exploitation of people of or cheap labour,” he said.
“We are urging churches and congregations to reconsider their purchasing decisions and demand that organisations clean up their supply chains and labour practices.
“It’s abhorrent to contemplate that we are part of the problem but it is heartening to know that by changing our purchasing decisions and putting pressure on unethical organisations, we can also be part of the solution.”
The guide, ‘Take action to end exploitation; your church’s guide to ethical purchasing’, educates churches about the issues, helps them take stock of their purchases and identify alternative products, and outlines ways to engage their congregation and community to spread the word about ethical consumerism. The guide is included in the free toolkit for churches registered with World Vision’s End Exploitation day on Sunday 22 November, or their chosen Sunday, in the lead up to Christmas. The toolkit also includes prayer resources, a video sermon by Rev Tim Costello, lesson plans for youth groups and tips on how to run an ethical shopping tour in your local community.
Tim said Christians had a proud history of standing up against human slavery and collectively could influence great change in Australia.
“If every church and congregation in Australia changed their purchasing behaviours to purchase ethically certified products, it would send a strong message to companies that we no longer tolerate the exploitation of millions of vulnerable men, women and children,” he said.
World Vision works with children, families, communities and governments to prevent human trafficking, protect survivors, and improve anti-trafficking policies around the world.
To register your church for End Exploitation visit our website: www.worldvision.com.au/end-exploitation.