Two weeks ago now I met with the federal MP Mr Mike Symon to discuss the issue of Human Trafficking that exists out there in the world, and right here in Australia. What an opportunity that just sort of fell into our laps when we put it out there to see what would happen. A friend and Pastor, Luke, has really championed the cause ever since I began to get involved with the issue and, because of his support, the acts that are taking place have steam-rolled beyond what I could have imagined they would upon returning home. I thought I’d come back to process things and let the experiences I had settle inside me but friends have come along side me, picked up the cause and run onwards, keeping me also moving onwards.
It began with ‘Abolitionist Sunday’ a day created by World Vision (WV) for churches to raise awareness about human trafficking. So my church (Empower CC) ran with the issue and encompassed the cause into their Christmas giving. I gave two mini lectures about the facts surrounding it, but I could also share about the girls involved and my own personal ‘contact’ with the issue. With a crime as big as this one, it helps to bring it back to the personal, to the individual that matters as much as the next one and the next one. We decided to be part of the restoration of the issue with money going towards A21’s rescued victims, but also a part of the prevention at the source of where it all begins (lack of education and poverty). The issue doesn’t just need money though it needs voices, and so prayer and partnerships matter a great deal. We had people of all ages and incomes sign abolitionist cards to be presented to our local MP. Luke shot off an email to Mr Symon, thinking nothing would come of it. How wrong we were.
So we went, as fresh as ever, into our first political encounter to meet Mr Symon who is the Federal Member for Deakin. We thought it a refreshing success, and though we didn’t get solid action promised, the dialogue that took place was just as positive. We came out with the results we wanted. For over thirty minutes we chatted on the issue, with Luke sharing what action we’d taken as a church, with me sharing what action I’d done over in Thessaloniki working with A21 and with Simon (WV representative) sharing what action WV has taken in response to industries that essentially support slavery in the modern world (cotton, technology and food). That it is happening here in Australia was no surprise to Mr Symon as he chatted about immigrant workers getting paid a tiny pittance of a the standard Australian wages.
(Holding up our signed abolitionist cards with MP Mr Symon)
Despite those of you who think our Australian politics gets us nowhere, Nation-States in many cases still hold the power and validity in the world when it comes to forwarding a movement. Yet as people of the state we hold the power to make this movement big enough to grab their attention. What matters to us, generally matters to the head honchos. In a sense we can help them out, support them, make them aware, show and tell them what matters to us (their people), instead of always criticising. We’re for, not always against remember.