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ACAN & Australian Catholic University (ACU) — What is Modern about Modern Slavery?

ACAN & Australian Catholic University (ACU) — What is Modern about Modern Slavery?

27 Feb­ru­ary 2023

Mod­ern Slav­ery Cur­ricu­lum Pilot at ACU

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All under­grad­u­ate stu­dents at Aus­tralian Catholic Uni­ver­si­ty (ACU) will com­plete train­ing to iden­ti­fy and respond to mod­ern slav­ery fol­low­ing a pilot project with the Arch­dio­cese of Sydney.

Mod­ern slav­ery con­tent has been for­mal­ly intro­duced into ACU’s Core Cur­ricu­lum, which all under­grad­u­ate stu­dents are required to under­take as part of their var­i­ous degrees.

The project, which includes video resources for wider use, is a col­lab­o­ra­tion with ACU’s Stake­hold­er Engaged Schol­ar­ship Unit in con­junc­tion with ACU’s Fac­ul­ty of The­ol­o­gy and

Phi­los­o­phy, and the Anti-Slav­ery Task­force of the Catholic Arch­dio­cese of Syd­ney. The project sup­ports both organ­i­sa­tions’ shared com­mit­ment to rais­ing aware­ness of mod­ern slavery.

Approx­i­mate­ly 700 stu­dents across the university’s sev­en cam­pus­es have accessed the new train­ing mod­ules since the pilot pro­gram began in the sec­ond half of last year.

Anti-Slav­ery Task­force Exec­u­tive Man­ag­er Jen­ny Stanger said the pilot pro­gram with ACU was a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone in rais­ing aware­ness of mod­ern slav­ery with future workers.

Stu­dents inves­ti­gate four prin­ci­pal areas, includ­ing defin­ing and mea­sur­ing mod­ern slav­ery; the root caus­es and con­tribut­ing fac­tors of mod­ern slav­ery; inter­sec­tions of mod­ern slav­ery with eco­nom­ic and labour pol­i­cy, envi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion, human rights, and devel­op­ment; and respond­ing to mod­ern slavery.

“The top­ic of mod­ern slav­ery is intro­duced to ACU stu­dents before they embark on their pro­fes­sion­al jour­neys in busi­ness, health­care, law, social work and many oth­er areas that now include mod­ern slav­ery account­abil­i­ties,” Ms Stanger said.

“The con­tent pre­pares stu­dents to iden­ti­fy and respond to severe forms of exploita­tion and slav­ery-relat­ed crimes which they may encounter in the work­force and their per­son­al lives.”

ACU aca­d­e­m­ic Blake Was­sell explained ACU’s Core Cur­ricu­lum was a dis­tinc­tive pair of edu­ca­tion­al units that invit­ed stu­dents to relate the Catholic tra­di­tion to sig­nif­i­cant and inter­na­tion­al con­texts, includ­ing the pro­lif­er­a­tion of mod­ern slavery.

“Stu­dents are asked to work through new learn­ing mate­ri­als on mod­ern slav­ery through the third-year under­grad­u­ate unit of study UNCC300: Jus­tice and Change in a Glob­al World.” Dr Was­sell said.

“Mod­ern slav­ery is pre­sent­ed in its the­o­ret­i­cal con­text as well as a range of real-world set­tings to chal­lenge stu­dents’ knowl­edge, atti­tudes, and behav­iours. The project was includ­ed in the unit of study because of mod­ern slavery’s salient rel­e­vance to sus­tain­abil­i­ty and jus­tice issues.”

The project has been whol­ly col­lab­o­ra­tive, with a recog­ni­tion of the exper­tise of all project team mem­bers. Man­ag­er of ACU’s Stake­hold­er Engaged Schol­ar­ship Unit Vivien Cinque said that ACU’s work to address mod­ern slav­ery was strength­ened by the part­ner­ship with the Anti-Slav­ery Taskforce.

“It was incred­i­bly valu­able to have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to co-design the learn­ing mate­ri­als with the Anti-Slav­ery Task­force through this part­ner­ship. We are con­tin­u­ing to work togeth­er to fur­ther embed mod­ern slav­ery into ACU’s Core Cur­ricu­lum beyond the pilot project, so stu­dents can grad­u­ate feel­ing more empow­ered to act against injus­tices,” Ms Cinque said.

Ms Stanger explained that the new mate­ri­als will also be rel­e­vant to oth­ers in the sector.

“I am grate­ful to col­leagues who agreed to record video inter­views that com­ple­ment the con­tent. These resources will be use­ful to the wider anti-slav­ery sec­tor and we look for­ward to shar­ing them more broad­ly in the com­ing months.”

An ani­ma­tion pro­duced for the com­mence­ment of the course can be viewed and shared here: What is Mod­ern About Mod­ern Slavery?

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