Whenever Professor Michael Adams shops for clothes he does not just think about where he can get the best bargain or what brand is the talk of Paris Fashion Week. Instead he does his best to only source garments which are ethically produced and sourced. Michael is always dismayed when he hears about disasters such as the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh which killed more than 1,000 people. It soon came to light after this disaster that clothing brands Australians commonly wear were produced in this highly unsafe work environment. In other words it is the social cost of goods rather than just the economic cost of goods which is important to Michael.
One of the ways Michael has chosen to further contribute to social causes is through his work with The Freedom Hub. The Freedom Hub is a charitable organisation which works to eliminate modern day slavery. The organisation was born out of founder Sally Irwin’s realisation that modern day slavery still exists in Australia. In fact there are estimated to be approximately 16,000 people currently living in servitude in Australia. Sally got to work creating an entity which could work towards reducing these figures. She did not rely on government funding and instead created an enterprising business model. Essentially a wedding venue and café are used to raise money so resources can be put into both ending modern day slavery and rehabilitating survivors.
When Sally told Michael about her social enterprise idea Michael chose to be a part of the Board of the organisation immediately. He is the company secretary and completes the compliance work.
You might be interested to know what happens when it is discovered someone is living in servitude. The Australian Federal Police generally physically rescues the victims from where they are being held. After this the Salvation Army provide safe and secure housing for the primarily female clients. This is when The Freedom Hub enters the story. They work with the survivors to help them assimilate into society. They host a Survivor School which includes helping the attendees learn how to speak English and how to effectively budget and use public transport. Ultimately they help the survivors find a job!
So far The Freedom Hub has assisted approximately 30 people who have been victims of modern day slavery. The organisation also helps businesses fulfil their obligations under the Modern Day Slavery Acts which have both state and federal versions.
The Freedom Hub are lucky to receive support from a variety of sources. Most recently Westpac Bank provided the organisation with a significant grant in order to help with their objectives.
This Friday night you can also help keep this important work going. Jess Irwin, the daughter of the founder, will be the guest speaker at the event. Make sure you grab your tickets to this not to be missed event!