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Change is coming, but some retailers aren’t ready for slavery laws

“Carolyn Kitto, a director at anti-slavery group STOP THE TRAFFIK, said that many large companies’ existing transparency initiatives would already fulfil what would be required of them under the reporting laws.

The group has spent more than four years lobbying fashion retailers to disclose their plans and polices to mitigate labour abuse in their products.

While some businesses have been responsive, others have refused and resorted to legal threats against STOP THE TRAFFIK.

“They’ve got some catching up to do,” Ms Kitto said.

She said while some businesses were concerned about the cost of complying, “there’s going to be way more of a cost if you don’t do the right thing and human slavery is found in your supply chain”.”

The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian and The Age, 1 January 2018.

Oxford, Wish and Roger David slammed for their silence on their supply chains

“Carolyn Kitto from STOP THE TRAFFIK, a coalition of 30 groups fighting to end human trafficking, said while the report showed big progress at the cut-make-trim stage of production, there was still “huge abuse” further down the supply chain.

She said in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which produces most of the world’s cotton knit fabrics, more than 300,000 young women were trapped in the Sumangali labour scheme.

“I met one woman who said to me, ‘I am just like a machine trying to survive amongst machines’,” Ms Kitto said. “She regularly worked double shifts but didn’t get paid for it. They would lock the doors.”

She said one mill owner told her that demand for quicker turnaround times and cheaper prices meant they couldn’t pay their workers properly.

“There are children in Uzbekistan and widows in India that are part of this supply chain, and we’re on the other end, so what we choose to do will determine the living conditions for these people,” she said.”

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age,  19 April, 2017.

Oroton, Pumpkin Patch and Lorna Jane shamed for low transparency of supply chains

“Carolyn Kitto from STOP THE TRAFFIK said there had been massive changes in the global fashion industry in the past 20 years, including the increased frequency of cheap collections, to the detriment of the labour force.

She met Jessica in November in Tamil Nadu, home to 65 per cent of India’s fabric mills, where the Sumangali labour scheme is widespread. Girls as young as 11 are lured with the false promise of a lump sum payment at the end of a set period which can be used as dowry.

“The family, usually from poor and rural villages, are happy to agree. They think their daughter’s virtue will be protected, but in fact they could be sexually abused. They’re forced to work ridiculously long hours,” she said.

“Jessica was told if she wants her lump sum payment, she would have to sleep with the supervisor. What’s amazing about her is that she’s part of a women’s trade union there.” ”

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, 20 April 2016.

Do you know the naked truth about what you’re wearing?

What is the real cost of your three dollar t-shirt? If you’re a fashion lover you might recognise a designer label, but can you tell where the fabric came from? Or who dyed the cotton? GUEST INCLUDE, Carolyn Kitto, STOP THE TRAFFIK.

The ABC, Life Matters, 17 April 2015.

Combating Modern Slavery

You wouldn’t think human trafficking and slavery are Australian problems would you?

Well Churches around Australia have been taking part in a global day of worship, prayer and action against human trafficking this weekend. In many churches – today was Freedom Sunday -a day to pray for an end to human trafficking. Faith communities were invited to make commitments to prevent human trafficking in both local and global communities.

GUESTS IN THIS HOUR include Fuzz and Carolyn Kitto , STOP THE TRAFFIK Co-ordinators, Australia

The ABC, Sunday Night Live with John Cleary, 18 October 2015.

The Issue, Modern Day Slavery

Slavery is a strange and almost alien term to associate with a democratic country like Australia, but as recent exposes from agriculture to retail have shown, exploitation merely requires opportunity.

Even here in Australia, the number is estimated to be close to 3,000. They may not be wearing chains or manacles, but according to Commissioner James Condon of the Salvation Army they can be found across the economy.

GUESTS IN THIS HOUR include Fuzz Kitto , National Coordinator, STOP THE TRAFFIK.

The ABC, Sunday Night Live with John Cleary, 6 December 2015.

Rana Plaza: Australian fashion brands still not protecting international workers

Carolyn Kitto from the anti-exploitation group, STOP THE TRAFFIK, says the best thing consumers can do is to pressure retailers into sourcing ethically responsible products.

“They should be asking of their favourite fashion labels and retailers, “Who made my clothes? What do you know about the supply chain? What do you know about human trafficking in the supply chain of these?”

As consumers, we have enormous power to exercise our choice about what we purchase and in the end, business will listen.

The ABC, AM, 17 April 2015

Damning report on exploitation in Australian fashion industry

“Carolyn Kitto, spokeswoman for anti-slavery group STOP THE TRAFFIK, said the cost of paying workers enough to live on would make little difference to the end cost to Australian consumers because they were being paid so little.

Ms Kitto said she had met women in India who had been coerced into working in spinning, weaving and dyeing mills and forced to labour under appalling conditions.

“I’ve seen photos of rooms that would be about the size of my bedroom where 50 girls have lived,” she said.  “They don’t have any safety equipment so they inhale and ingest cotton fibre. Their food is sometimes laced with hormones to stop them menstruating because they’re regarded as less productive when they’re menstruating.” ”

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, 26 April 2015.

Tea workers in India falling prey to human traffickers

“Carolyn Kitto, Australian convener of STOP THE TRAFFIK, argues that owners of tea plantations such as Hattigor are, in large part, big companies which have the power and capacity to make the changes required to support vulnerable communities to become resilient to human trafficking and modern slavery.

“Prevention of human trafficking needs shared responsibility and this includes business,” says Kitto.  “There is a lot of money in tea and we are asking that some of it be invested into the garden communities, so that the people who pick our tea do not do so in such extreme poverty. I have seen the living and working conditions that create the vulnerability and desperation which leads people to fall prey to human traffickers.”

“Having a cuppa is a part of the Australian culture. We have a cuppa and somehow it refreshes our life. Australians have shown that they do care where the products they consume come from. We invite them to show they care about conditions that their tea causes, by writing to Tata Global Beverages, the owners of Tetley tea.” ”

The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian and The Age, 5 December 2014.

The True Cost of Chocolate

200 years ago the men who started the industry in the UK – Cadbury, Fry, Hershey, Bourneville – were all associated with the anti-slavery movement.

Today though in West Africa, child labour – often trafficked – is helping to produce one-third to one-half of the world’s cocoa crop. Guests include, Carolyn Kitto, STOP THE TRAFFIK

The ABC, Sunday Night Live with John Cleary, 18 April 2014.

Church says no to Easter eggs over child slavery concerns

St John’s Anglican Cathedral in Brisbane will not hand out Easter eggs at its Easter services this year, because of concerns that child slavery is a large part of the chocolate production chain. Dean Dr Peter Catt says their search for slavery free certified eggs was frustrating, as the only alternatives were prohibitively expensive.

The STOP THE TRAFFIK anti-slavery lobby group supports the church’s move and Nestle Australia admits that child labour is used to produce some chocolate, but says it’s doing all it can to help eliminate child slavery.

The ABC, The World Today, 17 April, 2014.

Human Trafficking on ‘Freedom Sunday’

Today was marked by many churches around Australia as FREEDOM SUNDAY, a day to mark the continuing campaign against what’s called human trafficking.

In another age it was called for what it practically is: Slavery.

In some ways these days it’s worse because it is hidden behind a respectable facade among the poor powerless and voiceless, bound to brothels, building sites, restaurant kitchens and into forced marriages.

So what’s it mean for Australia, and why should we care?


The ABC, Sunday Night Live with John Cleary, 17 February 2013.

Sex-trafficking video goes viral

“The short video is part of a campaign by STOP THE TRAFFIK, an international anti-slavery organisation that aims to stop human trafficking and prosecute traffickers.

STOP THE TRAFFIK has more than 1000 members, including in Australia.

Dutch advertising agency Duval Guillaume Modem created the ad in the hope of raising awareness of human trafficking.”

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, 26 April, 2012.

The Issue: Human Trafficking

As the world continues to grapple with the GFC and we look to our own advantage, are we in danger of ingnoring a continuing tragic reality: that treating humans as economic units costs lives?

On December 2nd, child labour, bonded labour, and sex trafficking were all the focus of the United Nations International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

Guests include Carolyn Kitto – Australian director of STOP THE TRAFFIK.

The ABC, Sunday Night Live with John Cleary, 11 December 2011.

Chocolate lovers to enjoy no-guilt snack

The STOP THE TRAFFIK Australia Coalition says it is estimated tens of thousands of children are trapped working in slave labour conditions on cocoa plantations and farms in Ghana, the west-African nation where Cadbury will source its cocoa from ethically run plantations.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, 26 August 2009.