The Sisters of Charity Foundation, in collaboration with The Salvation Army, have launched a program providing transitional housing for survivors of modern slavery in Australia on Thursday 20 February at the Sisters of Charity Heritage Centre, Potts Point. The move comes in league with the Anti-Slavery measurements being implemented within the Sydney Archdiocese.
Sr Margaret Beirne rsc, Congregational Councillor of the Sisters of Charity, spoke at the opening. “Today’s launch of this anti-slavery program begins a joint ecumenical venture of our Christian traditions in continuation of the work of Mother Mary Aikenhead. The Salvation Army’s predilection for the poor fits well with the Sisters of Charity,” she said.
The Memorandum of Understanding for the program between the Salvation Army and the Sisters of Charity Foundation was signed in November 2019.
Commissioner Donaldson spoke on behalf of The Salvation Army. “Partnerships are always built on fundamental beliefs. The Salvation Army and the Sisters of Charity believe every person is made in the image of God and is worthy of love and respect,” he said.
His Excellency, the Governor-General of Australia the Hon David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), patron of the Sisters of Charity Foundation, was in attendance to open the program.
Other guests included Salvation Army Australia Commissioners Robert and Janine Donaldson, interim anti-slavery commissioner for the NSW Government Professor Jennifer Burn and John McCarthy QC of the Sydney Catholic Archdiocese Anti-Slavery Taskforce.
Governor Hurley thanked both organisations for their work. “It’s a delight to see various areas [the Sisters of Charity Foundation] do work from scholarships to programmes like this to asylum seekers and the full range of issues we need to address as a society…your fingerprints are there. Thank you.”
The scourge of modern slavery affects approximately 30 million people worldwide according to statistics from the UN. According to similar estimates, there are approximately 15,000 individuals in Australia who fall into the category of modern slavery with sweatshop work, forced marriages and indentured employment.