Listen: Sinet Chan and Tara Winkler Give Evidence at 2017 ‘Modern Slavery’ Inquiry

February 2020

In 2017 Tara Winkler stood alongside orphanage survivor, Sinet Chan, to testify at the Australian Parliamentary Inquiry into Modern Slavery, putting forward the case that holding children in orphanages is a form of child slavery.

“It is not easy for me to tell this story. But I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. That is not why I am here. I am here to tell my story because it is important for people to know the abuse and the exploitation in orphanages.”

— Sinet Chan

In 2018, the Modern Slavery Bill was passed in Australia, recognising for the first time in the world that orphanage trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery.The Act aims to hold Australian companies accountable, compelling them to report annually on the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, and the action they have taken to assess and address those risks, and the effectiveness of their response. The first reporting date for the Modern Slavery Act is the end of June this year.

This is a crucial step towards abolishing the transfer of funds from Australian-run charities to overseas orphanages.

Also, in December last year for the first time in history, all 193-member states of the United Nations General Assembly called for the elimination of orphanages, urging member states to invest in family strengthening to keep families together.

Raising global awareness about the harms of orphanages has been an uphill battle. It is wonderful to finally see this issue on the United Nations radar, rightfully placing the plight of some of the most vulnerable children on the planet onto the global agenda. The Resolution signifies a major step forward with a clear commitment from all 193-member states to prevent children from unnecessarily separating from their families by addressing the root causes, including foreign donations to orphanages.

— Tara Winkler

Now, we need to act on this commitment.

Together we can ensure vulnerable children are not ending up in orphanages.

I would like to urge the Australian people to stop supporting, donating or volunteering at the orphanages. Your kindness and generosity can solve the problem if you help an organisation where the children are supported to stay with their families.

— Sinet Chan