Kathleen Rushton: Why is modern day slavery rampant in the world today - and even here in New Zealand?

Interviewed by

Tim Lynch

Kathleen Rushton: Why is modern day slavery rampant in the world today - and even here in New Zealand?

Human slavery and human trafficking are interwoven and globally is a growing problem. It's not in the headlines - but slavery or the US term 'human trafficking’ - is still a horrendous criminal offence. It is constantly taking place in the shadows around our planet today - and even in NZ.

Estimates of the number of slaves today range from around 21 million to 46 million, depending on the method used to form the estimate and the definition of slavery being used. The amount of money comes to about $150b.

For those living in North America they will not use the term slavery, especially as so many American blacks are descendants of slavery and they prefer to use the word ’trafficking’. 

As Kathleen is a Sister of Mercy here in NZ - when working for the 'Year of Mercy' which was 2015, she and other people from 42 countries embraced a ‘theological reflection process’ and out of that they focussed on two areas - the degradation of the earth and the displacement of peoples. She was then asked by her congregational leader to be the NZ liaison person - to collaborate with people within the umbrella group - internationally. Where they use the latest technology available, including Skype to all connect up, and share resources and strategies.

Slavery has been present for Millenia

As someone who has a background in Biblical studies - she has looked back through scripture and in the New Testament she says we cannot face the word ’slave’ and it is there so often - and it has been basically translated to the word - ‘servant' and by doing that it sort of obscures the words meaning. That people in the time of Jesus lived in the Roman Empire that depended entirely on slavery.

Which she states is a hidden evil that is dominating our world today.

In New Zealand

She says she was privileged to go to the 'Tip of the Iceberg' conference in Wellington in August 2017 and this was where they worked and collaborated with local people to raise awareness of anyone that they may think is being entrapped by certain business or working conditions.

https://movementonline.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Tip-of-the-Iceberg-conference-report-2017.pdf

This was lead by the NZ Government’s Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment - and that the US Embassy was involved as well. A Rev Chris Frazer (a Diocese of Wellington deacon for social justice) was very much behind it as well.

https://www.anglicantaonga.org.nz/news/common_life/trafficking_aware

Also involved was the Wellington Anglican Cathedral. It was opened in the NZ Parliament by the current Minister of Immigration at the time the Honourable Michael Woodhouse and he was very supportive of the whole proceedings. It brought together NGO’s - non Governmental organisations, the NZ Police and she said there were an impressive number of people there. Many of them working at the grass roots.

Food Growers Association, Faith groups - from the Catholic Church and the Salvation Army including Andrew Wallis CEO of the Anti Slavery organisation - Unseen, from the UK spoke - and though NZ has been at the forefront of having women vote, being Nuclear Free and being strongly anti apartheid as in South Africa - Andrew says that in tackling this crime NZ today is where the UK was 7 to 10 years ago. So we have a long way to go to catch up with where Britain is currently at.

https://www.unseenuk.org/

The reason is that in Britain they have the 'UK Modern Slavery Act' where every business is registered and annually must put in a report stating that they know the three levels where their goods come from.

Say it is a shirt - so who did they buy it from, where was it made and where was the cotton or the fabric grown? That at each level - they must prove that they are monitoring the product all the way. Thus, following the money to the source of the produce, is how everything is being recorded. This methodology was strongly focused on at the conference - especially by the NZ police.

If any person is ‘brought’ into NZ and its is suspected to being involved in human slavery - first communications has to go through the Immigration Department (as the predominant victims are usually recent arrivals into NZ) - this she says is a very complex procedure even before it gets to the police. Where as, in the UK - it comes immediately under the Crimes Act.

The take-away from the 'Tip of the Iceberg' conference - was to get new legislation like the UK passed in NZ as soon as possible.

2016 was the First Conviction for Slavery in NZ

In NZ we have had very few convictions for human slavery in this country. (Most NZers have no idea that such a thing would exist in this country.)

For the first time the NZ Police were able to convict a perpetrator of bringing 16 Fijian people to NZ with lavish promises but to then double cross and entrap them to become enslaved. See below link.

The NZ police said it took about 2,000 hours of work to get this conviction - being a huge time consumer due to the complexity of our Law. The outcome of the Conference was that we need to advocate for a change in the Law so as to have it upgraded and streamlined so as to address this horrendous bottleneck to rapid enforcement and justice.

This situation was only found out because the Fijians were allowed to go to church one Sunday and one of the congregation noticed how upset a Fijian woman was and went over to see her and ask her to come and have a cup of coffee and that was when the lady spilt out what was happening.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/84262716/faroz-ali-found-guilty-of-human-trafficking

So Kathleen says that it’s imperative for us to be very alert and be mindful of situations popping up amidst us - because it is just below the surface and we need to know this.

Here is a list that covers points like:

If a person does not carry their passport, and do not know much about visas - or they are not willing to say where they work or for whom they work for.

Or if they are escorted to and from work and they state that they are working everyday and for long hours.

If they do not know where they live or are fearful of giving the address.

That they have not been paid. If they hesitate as to talking about who arranged their contract or visas … if they are paying off large debt. Are there signs of self harm and they seem starved.

Finally if the are young people and are absent from school.

So the imperative is for us to be mindful and aware of people - particularly immigrants, because had that lady at church not been crying and a parishioner notice and kindly offered to ask to help and assist - those 16 Fijians could still be enslaved today.

[What would their family in Fiji think when they were cut off from these workers here in NZ? It must have been very concerning for them.]

Other talking points:

Stop the Traffic - Fuzz Kitto - who says that traffickers are really smart so we have to be smarter … traffickers are creative - so we have to be more creative … traffickers are organised - we have to be more organised … traffickers have smart systems so we have to have better ones. Traffickers disempower people - we have to empower people. Traffickers try to make people invisible - we have to make them visible. Traffickers work across borders - we must work better across borders. Traffickers do more for less - we have to do more for less.

https://beslaveryfree.com/australianfashionforum

Remember the vehicle driver in Britain recently where a large number of Vietnamese people died in a container on the back of his truck. This type of trafficking is everywhere. We only hear about it, if the police or customs catch them red handed or in a horrific disaster as in this case.

Kathleen mentions the documentary film Blue Jeans about workers in sweatshop conditions and terrible pay and long hours - where she mentions that NZ clothing firms have now closed and taken the business offshore to Asia. With the same ‘old reason’ - that it is uneconomic to run a business in NZ. Hence sweatshops produce cheap goods.

Keeping the word ‘Slavery’ in the public consciousness

The British want to always name it as Human Slavery - as against Trafficking - and horrendous as it is we are told that 12.5% of victims are in the sex industry and that the vast majority of others say 25% are children are slaves being under 18 and the rest are labour slaves.

Also mentioned were crew on ships coming to NZ ports, be it cargo ships or fishing boats and that many of the crew are found to be horrendously exploited. For with fishing boats they can be at sea for months on end and when they dock in NZ ports there is no real ‘haven’ for crew to go and enjoy ‘recreation and rest’ and she even states that though NZ has signed an agreement to offer up a place where visiting crew upon landing can find as a safe ‘location’ to reorient themselves - that has not been forthcoming. To the degree it was mentioned that the crew are often paid in US dollars and in Lyttelton she said there is no bank, they are for US$1.00 given change in NZ$1.00 - (one for one) which is totally immoral.

Also mentioned

Kevin Bales a very courageous advocate - Free the slaves - blood and earth - uncovers many dreadful situations around our planet - smart phones = mining rare earth minerals especially in the Congo.

https://www.freetheslaves.net/ He links the exploitation of the poor people to the exploitation of the earth.

Kathleen said with regards to paedophile networks and sex traffic or organ harvesting etc - this was outside her field of expertise.

Yes, the Jeffrey Epstein saga is the tip of the iceberg and there is a huge white slave trade going on that has lots of East European girls conned into applying for modelling careers outside of Eastern Europe and then once away from their own country are kidnapped and pushed into prostitution etc.

Finally Tim mentioned the Executive Order signed on the 21st December 2017 by Donald Trump.

Executive Order Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption

Law & Justice

Issued on: December 21, 2017

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Public Law 114-328) (the “Act”), section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 U.S.C. 1182(f)) (INA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,

I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that the prevalence and severity of human rights abuse and corruption that have their source, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States, such as those committed or directed by persons listed in the Annex to this order, have reached such scope and gravity that they threaten the stability of international political and economic systems. Human rights abuse and corruption undermine the values that form an essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies; have devastating impacts on individuals; weaken democratic institutions; degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts; facilitate the activities of dangerous persons; and undermine economic markets. The United States seeks to impose tangible and significant consequences on those who commit serious human rights abuse or engage in corruption, as well as to protect the financial system of the United States from abuse by these same persons.

I therefore determine that serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-blocking-property-persons-involved-serious-human-rights-abuse-corruption/

 

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Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch, is a New Zealander, who is fortunate in that he has whakapapa, or a bloodline that connects him to the Aotearoan Maori. He has been involved as an activist for over 40 years - within the ecological, educational, holistic, metaphysical, spiritual & nuclear free movements. He sees the urgency of the full spectrum challenges that are coming to meet us, and is putting his whole life into being an advocate for todays and tomorrows children. 'To Mobilise Consciousness.'

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