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ISSUE 21 / OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2012

CHANGE

Learn how to deal with fines – big or small Young people’s life-changing experiences + Find out about the big changes happening at unleash!

news • opportunities • action • opinion October - November 2012 unleash

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unleash 21

October - November 2012 unleash is YAPA’s magazine of youth opinion and action. If you are under 20, unleash gives you the opportunity to express your opinions on issues that concern you. It also supports and encourages you to take positive action to improve your community and young people’s lives. editor Bridie Moran

coordinator Nick Manning

graphic design Emma-Lee Crane, Milk Thieves Art & Design www.milkthieves.com.au YAPA, the Youth Action & Policy Association NSW Inc, is the peak organisation representing young people & youth services in NSW. YAPA is not religious and not party political. YAPA receives core funding from the NSW Government - Department of Family and Community Services. More at www.yapa.org.au/yapa get unleash unleash is published 6 times each year. See the subscription details on the back cover, or go to www.yapa.org.au/unleash feedback We want to hear what you like, what you don’t like, and what you would like, in unleash. We also want to hear what you think about the issues discussed in unleash. Just email: unleash@yapa.org.au contribute unleash is a space for young people aged 12-19. See how you can contribute on page 20, or go to www.yapa.org.au/unleash advertise If you would like to advertise in unleash, please contact Nick Manning at YAPA on (02) 8218 9803 or email unleash@yapa.org.au. legalities unleash is © Copyright YAPA 2012. Individual articles are copyright the individual authors. Contact us if you would like to copy something from unleash.

contents In this issue of unleash... unleash’s resident lawyer Pia is here to help with fines – It’ll Be Fine

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Jason O’Neill tells us about the National Indigenous Youth Parliament

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Candiace Cokinas - on a mission to make a difference

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The “It’s Happening” team want you to know about human trafficking

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YAPA’s Alex Long gets an insight into Amnesty International with Dan

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What Matters Award Overall Winner Sheree Kuan listens to the voice of the whale

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Sophie Morton’s photography takes flight on page

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Find out about the big changes happening at unleash

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Plus our regular features:

unleash ASKS Editor’s Letter News Opportunities unleash yourself

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front cover

This edition’s cover art is by seventeen year old artist, Roanize – it makes us want to run away to the circus!

Opinions are the authors’ and not necessarily YAPA’s. contact us Bridie Moran - Editor unleash magazine Youth Action & Policy Association NSW Inc Suite 403, 64-76 Kippax Street Surry Hills NSW 2010 unleash@yapa.org.au (02) 8218 9800 fax (02) 9281 5588 www.yapa.org.au/unleash

printed on 100% recycled paper

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unleash October - November unleash October - November 20122012

Roanize will receive a $50 gift voucher for letting us publish her artwork! If you are under 20 years and would like us to consider your art, in any form, for a future front cover of unleash, email unleash@yapa.org.au.


unleash ask

‘What is the

biggest change you have ever made?’ I went on an internship to

Egypt. Mazin, 20, Greece

Telling and showing people

who I “really am”, including my sexuality, and

genuinely living life. Hunter, 18, Sydney

big I haven’t made any

changes. Amber, 15, Gunnedah

I have given up gymnastics. Since starting Year 11 I spend more

time on my schoolwork now, and there is not enough time for gym. Emily, 16, Gunnedah

Sponsoring a young girl in

Bangladesh

since I was 13 years old who I still sponsor today -

I hope I’ve made a big change in her life! Ally, 20, Sydney

I have changed my study habits since I started senior school. I am doing

lots more school work now. Claire, 17, Gunnedah

October - November 2012 unleash

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editor’s letter

By Bridie, unleash Editor and soon-to-be bicyclist.

Here at the unleash office, we’ve got some big changes happening!

Hi unleashers!

From this issue on, we are being unleashed onto the world wide web - instead of picking up your copy of unleash in print form, you’ll now access issues and subscribe online - from your mobile, tablet, laptop or home computer.

This issue is all about changes - from the big - going to another country - to the little - like changing your study habits. I was so inspired by the changes made by unleash contributors in this issue that I’ve decided to make a little change of my own instead of driving or catching the bus, I’m getting a new bike and riding as much as I can. I hope you are as inspired as I was when you check out all the amazing switches that have happened in the world thanks to our unleash team of contributors. Maybe you’d like to make a change and become a contributor? There are so many ways to make a change in your life – and the results can be incredible.

With a totally online unleash on the way, get set for the launch of a blog, interactive conversations, and new ways to get involved. As with all changes, this means saying goodbye to the old - we’ll miss the printed papers of unleash - and hello to the new - a shiny new website. Make sure to jump online and subscribe (details are on the last page of this mag) to stay in the unleash loop - we’ve got new roles for contributors, reviewers and more just waiting for you, plus giveaways, prizes and opportunities. See you online!

Bridie This edition’s $50 gift voucher goes to Jason O’Neil for “The Young People Are Shouting” – check it out on Page 8!

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unleash October - November 2012

If you would like to contribute to unleash, email your article (or artwork) to unleash@yapa.org.au


YOUth in the news

unleash’s take on how young people made the news in the last month or so... and any extras that might be relevant to you! Single Parent Welfare Cuts Could Hurt Young Single Parents With recent cuts to welfare payments for unemployed single parents, the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) have warned that teen parents and their children might be locked into years of poverty without adequate help from the federal government. With benefits reduced for single parents from the time that their youngest child turns eight, the federal government hopes that these cuts will encourage young parents to seek further training or paid work. However, AYCA Executive Director Andrew Cummings says that “there is little evidence that young single parents will be helped to find work by cutting their payments.” http://www.ayac.org.au Source: AYAC News, www.ayac.org.au/news/

NSW Young Labour launches Queer Network The NSW Labour Party’s youth wing has established a Queer Network within the party to represent and discuss issues that are relevant to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Intersexual and Queer community. Andre Charadia, the co-convener of NSW Young Labour and a University of Wollongong student, said that the Queer Network is another step toward’s Labour’s attempts to remove discrimination against LGBTIQ people. Said Charadia, “We also see the Queer Network as an entry point for GLBTIQ young people who want to get discussion started through the Labour Party on issues that matter to them.” http://gaynewsnetwork.com.au Source: The Gay News Network - www.gaynewsnetwork.com.au

Tasmania Considers Phasing Out Cigarette Sales - To People Born After 2000. In an unusual proposal, the Tasmanian Upper House of Parliament has suggested that it become illegal for people born after 2000 to buy tobacco once they turn 18 - meaning that they would never be able to legally purchase cigarettes. With the proposal passed by the Upper House in mid-August 2012, it is understood Singapore and Finland are the only other jurisdictions considering such a law. Many groups, including the Cancer Council, welcome the move, with spokesman Simon Barnsley saying: “We do have the highest smoking rates in the country, we do have low health standards, we do have a health system under pressure, and I think it’s excellent for government to explore very different ways to tackle the heath problem.” However, some, including Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne, have questioned how easy it will be to put into place: “I think an arbitrary ban on smoking would be very difficult to police, particularly an island state,” she said. Source: ABC News www.abc.net.au/news

NSW Police Slam Channel V Promo For Depiction Of Unsafe Driving Along with a number of other road safety authorities, the NSW Police Force has slammed a new advertisement for Foxel’s music station Channel V, that depicts a group of young people in a car doing burnouts, not wearing seat belts and swerving erratically. A promo for their slogan, “Rev Up Your Saturday Mornings”, the Channel V advertisement shows a group of young people apparently speeding in a high-powered Mercedes-Benz sedan, with passengers not wearing seat-belts, hanging their heads out the window, and giving the finger to passing cars. The driver swerves across double white road lines, and does a series of “donuts”. Although Channel V have said that the ad was a ‘fantasy sequence’, filmed safely on a closed track, NSW authorities have called for the piece to be taken off air. Duncan Gray, NSW minister for roads and ports, said “This is anti-social behaviour that is putting their own lives at risk as well as the lives of others. This promo encourages others to do the same”. However, the ad cannot be taken off air, as it is not governed by the code of practice because it is not advertising a vehicle. http://smh.drive.com.au Source: The Sydney Morning Herald’s Drive: www.smh.drive.com.au

Ed: What do you think? Should dangerous driving be shown in a glamourous way?

More news, and links to full articles are at: www.yapa.org.au/youth/news.php. PDF readers: Click the link at the end of the item.

October - November 2012 unleash

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advice

By Pia Birac, fines solicitor at Legal Aid NSW.

You can get fines for a range of things, including travelling on the train without a ticket or concession card, riding your bike without a helmet or parking for too long in the wrong spot. Once you’ve accumulated a few fines, dealing with them can feel overwhelming. However, there are ways to get your fines under control that are quick, easy and not too scary at all! When you first receive a fine it’s called a Penalty Notice or a Court Imposed Fine. If you don’t pay the penalty notice or court fine by the due date, it is sent to the SDRO (the State Debt Recovery Office) for enforcement and more money is added to the fine. Once your fine is at the enforcement stage, the SDRO will start to chase you for the money and can start to take action against you.

The SDRO can suspend your driver’s licence and cancel your car registration, make an order for the NSW Sheriff to seize your property or take money from your wages or bank accounts. It is a good idea to act before these things

happen, but even if they have, don’t worry - it can usually be sorted out. The important thing is to ask for some help.

If you were under 18 and did not have a licence when the offence was committed, the SDRO cannot suspend or cancel your licence. In this situation, you may wish to get some legal advice about that fine.

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There are a number of options available for you to deal with your fines once they have reached enforcement stage: 1. Setting up a time to pay arrangement: You can ask the SDRO to let you pay off the fines bit by bit. If you are on Centrelink, you can organise to get the repayments taken straight out of your payments. You should make sure not to promise to pay more than you can afford. If you would like to do this you can contact the SDRO and set up the plan over the phone. You can call them on 1300 655 805. Once you have made 6 payments on your arrangement, you can get licence restrictions lifted. The SDRO will also lift the restrictions earlier if you make a good case for why you need your licence (for work etc). 2. Paying off the fines in one go: The SDRO can be contacted at any time to organise payment of outstanding fines in full. 3. Paying off the fines with a Work and Development Order: You can pay your fines by doing activities with an “Approved Organisation” or “Approved Health Provider” (like a GP or psychologist). Fines are worked off at different rates depending on the activity. For example, doing counselling or a course reduces the debt by $50 an hour. Activities can include: • Volunteer work • Counselling • Medical, mental health or drug and alcohol treatment • Educational, vocational and life skills courses (including financial and anger management counselling) • drug or alcohol treatment; or • a mentoring program (only available to people under 25). To qualify for a WDO, an applicant needs to either have an intellectual disability, mental illness or cognitive impairment, be homeless, have serious financial difficulties (being on a Centrelink income is enough to satisfy this test) or have a serious drug or alcohol problem. More information on WDOs as well as application forms can be found on the SDRO website or you can call their hotline on 1300 478 879 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm).

4. Asking for the fines to be written off: Another option is to make an application to the SDRO asking them to write off your fines. If you are successful, the SDRO won’t chase you for fines for 5 years, unless you get another fine referred to the SDRO within that time or your circumstances change in that time. After 5 years (provided you have not let any further fines go to enforcement stage or had any significant change in circumstances), the fines will be completely written off. If you want to apply for a write off, you need to be able to show that because of serious medical, financial or personal circumstances you can’t pay the fines now or in the future and that you don’t own anything or have any income that the SDRO could take to pay for the fines, and you can’t do a WDO.

Entering into any of these options will stop any enforcement action being taken so that YOU can get on with life. This article only sets out a brief outline of some of the options available for dealing with fines. There are some great resources available to guide people through the process of dealing with unpaid fines. In particular, Fined Out is an excellent resource created by Inner City Legal Centre, Redfern Legal Centre and Legal Aid NSW. It goes through fine enforcement (payment) procedures and options you have for dealing with fines in NSW. You can access the resource by googling ‘Fined Out’ or at www.iclc.org.au/fined_out/introduction.html . The State Debt Recovery office website also has some great info and fact sheets on how to deal with fines: www.sdro.nsw.gov.au. If after roaming these sites, you’re still unsure about how to deal with your particular fine, visit your local community legal centre or Legal Aid NSW for some free advice. You can call LawAccess on 1300 888 529 for a referral to your nearest free legal advice service. The most important thing to remember is this: You should never ignore a fine. It may seem overwhelming but you can always do something about it.

October - November 2012 unleash

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are they listening?

The Young People

Are Shouting – My Experience at The National Indigenous Youth Parliament This article is actually one of the most challenging things I’ve ever attempted to write, and that includes my Extension 2 English Major Work. It’s difficult to capture in words just what the National Indigenous Youth Parliament meant to me. It was the most incredible experience of my life. In early 2012 I was given the opportunity to represent New South Wales in Australia’s first National Indigenous Youth Parliament, run by the Australian Electoral Commission in partnership with the YMCA to mark the 50th anniversary of the Indigenous right to vote in federal elections. After meeting with the five other representatives for NSW in April, we landed in Canberra Airport on Tuesday 23 May. Before we knew it we were on a bus filled with fifty 16-25 year-old Indigenous young people from all over Australia. None of us expected what would follow. The very next morning, I found myself in Tony Abbott’s office, along with six other NIYP participants, what was to be the first of many encounters I would have with some of the leaders of our nation. Over the course of that week I also met Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Peter Garrett and Ken Wyatt just to name a few. But, to be honest, that really didn’t matter, because the most amazing people I met that week were the other participants. 8

unleash October - November 2012

The passion, strength and insight displayed in those fifty young leaders of Indigenous Australia was indescribable. Gathered from every walk of life, in the truest sense of the term, the amount of life experience accumulated between them all would have you prepared for anything. I found myself surrounded by fifty incredibly strong and inspirational young people, who only became stronger together. I felt enormously honoured to be provided the privilege of serving these amazing young leaders as their Leader of the Opposition. To this day I don’t think I truly did them justice. In the hallowed halls of the old House of Representatives, each one of these young leaders got up one by one to speak about the issues they knew well, and the solutions they knew would work. It was incredible. To be honest, leading up to NIYP I was a little anxious. I felt as though I wouldn’t have much to contribute in the grand scheme of things. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful family and a relatively easy life. But what I learnt that week was that all of us, all of our communities, have our own issues. Although these issues might not seem like such a big deal to us at times, they are all equally legitimate.


I suppose in hindsight that’s why I was so supportive of the Indigenous Seed Funding Youth Act 2012, which was introduced into parliament by the NSW team. Community-based solutions, developed by communities and enacted by communities, are the only truly effective way to tackle the issues Indigenous communities are facing nationwide, and the only way for true selfdetermination for the Indigenous peoples of Australia to happen. This is another reason why the NIYP was such an important event. The Australian Government heard just what we, as young Indigenous Australians, thought were the important issues and how they should be best attacked. Fifty-eight per cent (58%), substantially more than half, of all Indigenous Australians are under the age of 25. Fifty-eight per cent! Young Indigenous Australians standing up, taking charge for their communities and making their voices heard is the only way forward for all our peoples. Our voices must be heard. In saying all of that, the NIYP wasn’t just an inspiring place filled with strong young people that I was able to forge strong relationships with, and an opportunity for meeting some of my political idols. That was an incredible part of it, but something much deeper, much more important personally, also occurred during NIYP. During all those meetings, those loud dinners, heated parliamentary debates, heart-wrenching speeches, my identity was confirmed to me in solidarity.

I’ve known that I was Wiradjuri for as long as I can remember. I’ve embraced and pursued that as an integral part of who I was. But at NIYP, I felt it. I felt it stronger than I had ever felt it before. Amongst all those people from every corner of Australia, in a boiling pot of Indigenous culture, I felt a connection to the other participants that I had never experienced on such a mass scale. I was overwhelmed with the desire to connect with these people. I was filled with that love I feel for our land, our culture and our strong future. The National Indigenous Youth Parliament filled me and fifty other young Indigenous Australians with a whole new sense of purpose and determination, and equipped us with an enormous support network of brand new friends. And I cannot express my gratitude to the AEC and YMCA for that opportunity. These things aren’t true only to the Indigenous young people of Australia. Youth parliaments are run by the YMCA in every state of Australia, and their power to change lives is uniform. The young people of Australia are passionate, driven and seeing solutions where they feel the current governments are blind. The young people of Australia are shouting, and we all better listen up. By Jason O’Neil, 17, a member of the National Indigenous Youth Parliament, and a proud Wiradjuri young man.

October - November 2012 unleash

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my story

By Candice Cokinas, 19, who previously published her article, Democracy without due process? The Death of Colonel Moammar Gaddafi – in issue 17 of unleash. It is often said that when you go overseas you return with a better perspective of the world. When visiting developing nations, we’re exposed to different cultures and our eyes are opened up to a new reality. It is one thing to holiday and witness these conditions but how many of you would be willing to do something about it? Last year, a team of students and teachers from St George Christian School (SGCS) stepped up to the plate and flew over to Vanuatu to work with the “Camp Shining Light” mission base. Matthew Tomlin, a teacher at SGCS, returned to the country for the fourth time with the team to reach out and make a difference. He said: “My goal for a successful mission trip is to make an impact, to see lives changed, to build relationships and to leave a legacy that does not just stop after our two week trip but that goes on into the future”. The project started in 2009 when Dr Shan Ong, a pediatrician and parent at the school, engaged in voluntary mission work in the hospitals in Vanuatu. Once Mr. Tomlin heard about this he jumped at the opportunity and flew over to the Island of Santos to see if there was the option of bringing a team over.

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Jonathan, 19, graduated from SGCS in 2010 and was one of the 21 students that formed the first Vanuatu Mission Team in 2009. He told me, “Everybody always talks about how they want to help the ‘poor people’ and I thought that this was an opportunity where I could stop talking about it and actually go and do it”. My classmates sacrificed Their June/July school holidays to go and help others. The mission work consists of ministry – speaking about the Bible and God - spending time with the school children, giving the schools gifts and resources, assisting in building projects and running programs that involve crafts, drama and music. We also do a lot of fundraising within the local and school communities and this year the team had two containers full of resources to take over which included sporting goods, clothing, stationery and paint. Before the trip the students are carefully selected through a process of interviews to make sure that they are right for the job. They also underwent six months of training and preparation and met every Monday after school to talk about the cultural differences and plan. Zachary said it is all about attitude, and respect: “Over there, there will be times where it is hot and sweaty and you are going to want to just go to sleep. However you need to push through so you need to have a good attitude”. Culture shock is a common concern and Mr. Tomlin said that each student responds differently: “There is a bit of culture shock when they first arrive because things are different. It is a lot more simple way of life and it is a lot more primitive compared to Australian standards”.


The children of Ban Ban Primary School, in Luganville, were excited when the Vanuatu team arrived. Volunteer, Joanna, who returned for her second trip, said: “When we first drove into the school all of the kids were cheering for us. They actually ran out of the classroom and were clapping and screaming.” Joanna said that her best experience was spending time with the Ni-Van (NiVanuatu) kids. “They are just so happy and they love life. Their positive outlook on life rubs off on us”. This exposure gave the students a different perspective on the world and on life. Evan, of year 11, who also went on the trip for the second time, said that the experience changed him as a person. “I don’t worry about the little things, like if technology is not working. I am okay with that, because I saw that they do not have anything and we have everything”. Victoria Ingram, an English teacher at the school, commented on the trip and how she believes that the students will grow to appreciate “how good they have got it here.” She said, “I hope it will have a good impact.” Mission and volunteer trips are a great way to make a difference and get a fresh angle on life. The students and teachers at SGCS encourage people to consider going if the opportunity comes up with students like Zachary telling me that “It helps with your sense of purpose. You feel a lot better when you do it.” As Mr. Tomlin said, “Showing that you care and taking time out of your life and going beyond yourself and your needs and just saying that you want to do something for someone else is just such a powerful thing”.

A Typical Day on the SGCS Vanuatu Mission Trip •

6.30AM: Wake up

Have breakfast with the team

Take anti-malaria tablets

Quick shower and brush teeth

Group devotion and prayer time

Get ready

Have a quick meeting planning the day

Head off in the back of trucks to destination (local schools)

Run a day program with them including sports, craft, music, games, drama, etc.

Come home, rest and eat.

De-brief

Go to sleep

October - November 2012 unleash

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youth issue

It’s Happening

– Human Trafficking. By members of the It’s Happening Campaign at Baulkham Hills High School. What is Human Trafficking? Human Trafficking is the modern equivalent of slavery. It is the act of exploiting human beings for profit. Human trafficking is the 3rd largest crime in the world, below arms and drug dealing. Does Human Trafficking still happen now? Yes, this is not issue of the past. It’s still happening, human trafficking; with more than 2.5 million people being trafficked yearly and is currently the 2nd most profitable crime in the world, generating $7 to $10 billion annually for traffickers (according to the UN). Does it happen in Australia? Yes, it does happen in Australia, which is a destination country for victims trafficked mostly from China, SE Asia and Eastern Europe. However, the media, along with the government, can fail to emphasize the severity of this issue. It’s a problem that is rapidly growing due to low investigation and prosecution rates.

Things You Should Know

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There are more than 27 million slaves in the world (that’s more than the population of Australia)

46% of all human trafficking cases involve a trafficker who the victim knew

The average cost of a slave is $90

31.6 billion dollars is generated from the exploitation of trafficked peoples every year

UNICEF believes 50% of all trafficking victims are children

Two children are SOLD every minute

Australia is a “destination point” for human traffickers. Our proximity to developing South-East Asian countries is a geographic advantage. The cultural diversity of our population makes it difficult to identify victims of human trafficking.

2/3 of children trafficked are forced into the sex trade

unleash October - November 2012

Is anyone helping solve this issue? That’s the same question our Baulkham Hills High Resolves Team asked. We were a cheerful, dynamic group of 15 to 16 year olds, passionate about making a difference. Soon, we became a group of 40 Year Ten students with one common goal: to tackle human trafficking. Our ‘It’s Happening Campaign’ aims to raise awareness about this issue and let the population of Australia become aware of this ongoing crime happening not just in other countries but in our nation. We started in the beginning of this year with only a vague idea of what we were going to do. All we knew was that we were passionate about creating change in this world and that was enough to get the ball rolling. So far, after a series of meetings organised by High Resolves (an not-for-product educational initiative), we have started to put our campaign into action. We are in the process of presenting information at different high schools and have created many online resources. These include a comPETITION, which is an online photo petition where all you have to do is take a photo of yourself with the words, “It’s Happening. Human Trafficking.” This small action taken by you helps to raise awareness, which increases our chances of freeing the lives of trapped humans around the world.

How and Why Does Human Trafficking Happen? Human Trafficking to Australia typically occurs in countries suffering from poverty and by means of deception or force. It usually involves women who end up in sex slavery and the ‘customer’ demand for women to be abused. Human trafficking may also result in forced labor and children being used as soldiers. But human trafficking can involve anyone from any social or economic background. Many people are victims as a result of debt, as traffickers can track down those suffering from debt and take advantage of their desperation. Many adults also agree to go with their traffickers, believing that they’ll be provided with a good job. However what they don’t know is that they will be provided with unjust working conditions and exploited unfairly. Most have their passports forcefully taken from them, leaving them with no identity and if they are in a different country, trapped.


Not only do we want to educate the youth on this massive issue, we also want to educate those with power. By sharing these facts, figures and showing that many people want to stand up against human trafficking, we hope to influence the decisions of our governments.

Baulkham Hills High Resolves Team

So if you’re interested in raising awareness about this issue, speak out! Check out our online information, read more information, and talk to your friends and family about human trafficking. Everyone can make a difference in this world, let’s make sure it’s a good one.

It’s Happening. Human Trafficking. If you want to help you could share around our campaign at: www.itshappeningcampaign.com/ www.facebook.com/itshappeningcampaign/ www.itshappeningteam.tumblr.com/

To find out more: www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/index. html?ref=menuside

Let me tell you a story. * Imagine going out one night, just with your friends, and maybe having a drink or two. Just having some fun and socialising. The night is going great, and some guys come up to your table, flirting and offering to buy you some drinks. Sounds like a pretty chill night, right? Well this is how Ira’s night was going before she got drugged and taken by the charming men across the border into Poland. Her passport, phone and wallet were taken. She was stripped of her identity and found herself lost and confused, in another country. But that’s not when her nightmare ends. Her trafficker sold her to clients who sexually and physically abused her repeatedly. Battered, drained, exploited, there is only so much a human being can endure. Luckily for Ira, local police rescued her and brought her to an A21 shelter to be rehabilitated. However, only a trickle of human trafficking victims ever escapes their torment. There is an estimate of up to 27 million people enslaved in forced or bonded labour, child labour, forced sexual servitude and involuntary servitude, at this very moment. Half of these under the age of 21. (*A true story, rescued by A21 Campaign)

October - November 2012 unleash

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interview

Get to

Know:

Amnesty International

Dan, tell me a little about Amnesty International.

We’re a global movement who fight for human rights for all people. It started 52 years ago, when a London lawyer heard that two young men in Portugal had been jailed for drinking a toast to freedom and liberty. He was outraged, and wrote to a UK newspaper urging people all over the world to write to governments and demand the release of prisoners of conscience. That’s how Amnesty International was born, and now we have about 3 million members in 150 countries. We campaign and advocate for the rights found in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, such as the right to free speech, the right to a fair trial, and the right to not be tortured. Amnesty International pressures governments, corporations and other decision makers to end human rights abuses. What is Amnesty campaigning for at the moment?

By Alex from YAPA.

Hi there unleashers! I’m Alex, the new YAPA Western Sydney Project Coordinator. Today I’m interviewing Daniel Scaysbrook, the Youth Coordinator at Amnesty International Australia. Earlier this year I did a youth internship with Amnesty and the everexuberant Dan was my mentor. Dan is a passionate human rights advocate but what he does best is teach young people how to campaign for things that they care about.

We have been campaigning for a global Arms Trade Treaty, which would restrict the trade of weapons between countries. Currently one person dies every minute due to armed violence, yet there are more international restrictions around the trade of bananas and bottled water than there are around the trade of weapons. In July, world leaders came together for the first time ever to negotiate a treaty, and our supporters took action to demand the treaty would be strong, enforceable and would stop weapons going to countries where they would be used to commit human rights abuses. Unfortunately the first round of negotiations did not lead to a treaty, but we are hopeful that one will be secured this year. Amnesty International also campaigns on global crisis situations such as Syria; Australia’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers; and the rights of Aboriginal peoples to remain on their homelands. We also work with political prisoners and individuals at risk of the death penalty.

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How can young people, like unleash readers, get involved?

Students can join school or university action groups, while other young people can volunteer in the Amnesty office in their capital city, join a group in their town, or take action online at www. amnesty.org.au. One example of young people doing fantastic things for human rights is ARTillery, a volunteer-run initiative that uses art to shed light upon some of the world’s worst human rights abuses. I saw in your School Action Pack some of the amazing things students at Penrith High School are doing. Tell me a bit about their school group and how they’ve helped the campaign.

The Penrith Selective High School group is set up and run by students, with the help of a teacher. They made a brilliant contribution to our Arms Trade Treaty campaign. They ran a workshop with nearly a hundred students, talking about the impact of an unrestricted arms trade, and asked their peers to compare their experiences with those of young people affected by weapons. The group also got students to sign banana action cards, highlighting that there are more restrictions around the trade of bananas than weapons. These signatures contributed to nearly half a million signatures globally.

How does Amnesty help schools in setting up and running their group?

We have a designated team of volunteers who will work with you to establish your school action group, from running workshops to coming and speaking at your assembly. You are only limited by your own creativity! As an experienced community organiser, what’s the most important advice you could give young people who want to get active in their community? Everything you do, whether large or small, has impact. If you see something in the world that you want to change, get your friends together and think what you can do about it. Community organising is about building relationships and working together to create the world you want. youth@amnesty.org.au www.amnesty.org.au https://www. facebook.com/AmnestyOz * The Street University runs heaps of programs designed by everyday people who want to engage with marginalised young people. For more info on what’s on offer go to www.streetuni.net

What other amazing things have young people been up to?

Recently our youth interns worked with the Street University* in Liverpool running workshops around activism, human rights and our campaigns. The young people were outraged at how people’s basic human rights could be so ignored by governments and were inspired to take action.

The Concord Project

The students of Cheltenham Girls High School have produced an inspiring documentary that focuses on the issue of prolonged immigration detention of children in Australia. Each of the students created a human cardboard cut-out and signed it with a message about asylum seekers. The project has three aims: 1. To encourage young people to use their voice to speak out against injustice. 2. Get the facts straight about asylum seekers and children in detention 3. Advocate for changes to our laws so that international human rights principles relating to children are upheld in Australia. So far their video has over 9000 hits.

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opinion rs? Matteition is t a h W ompet c y the essay ach year bitute. e run itlam Inst .org/ Wh .whitlam wwwe_ program th

The Voice of the Whale

By Sheree Kuan of MLC School, who was the overall winner of the 2012 “What Matters?” competition - congrats Sheree! The pastel sunlight of breaking dawn washed over the waves that rocked gently back and forth, sliding over each other like liquid silver. Somewhere, in the silent caves of ocean, our voices reverberated as a hymn of the sapphire seas, tender as morning light. Our family of whales was the soul of the ocean. But the serenity did not linger forever. Soon the throb of an approaching engine rumbled, its bow slicing through the blue water glass. And the unmistakable outline of a harpoon gun was visible through the shroud of mist. An arrow blasted out and pierced itself into the rubbery flesh of an unsuspecting Minke whale. My mother. She gave a low moan as she nudged me away from the perilous water surface. But above us, a flat-face peered down at us with unfeeling eyes; eyes so empty of warmth. His jutting-out jaw curled into a sneer on his gaunt face as he adjusted his gun again. BOOM! My mother struggled on to plunge down to the safety of the deep, but her energy sapped, and she was taken. A chain hauled her up, and I watched with terrorglazed eyes as she writhed on the deck, blood streaming out of her as the flat-faces used their blades to gore and gouge her vulnerable body.

The water was now red; a deep crimson red, full of life that was now exposed to the sharp cold sting of the bitter air that wafted outside the harmony of the depths of the ocean. The engine triggered again. I followed the ship for hours, calling out to her until my voice was hoarse. But there was no lilting answering lullaby. There was only blood. A lone reminder of song echoed in the ocean... Listen. Listen to the lonely sea breeze that hovers over the sea of broken mirrors, in search of that lively melody that once blended in with the sigh of the wind and the gurgle of the shore. The melody that once rang out so often before the arrows started firing. The song of the whales. In the midst of the ocean, that isolated whale calf is still wandering, having no idea that its mother had just been turned into a range of humanoid objects; make-up, oil lamps and even ice-cream. Can’t you see that, to slay something so pure and defenceless for something you don’t even need is something that is vile, cruel and just outrageous? We’re humans, so why don’t we show some humanity? Why can’t we show some simple respect to life? If life matters to humans, why can we allow these innocent creatures to be murdered in thousands? A whale’s voice can only be heard if we let it be heard. Without the help of us, it will never ring out over the domineering voice of human. Everything is up to you. If we don’t stop this massacre, human will banish that wordless tune forever. Listen to the voice of the whale.

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unleash October - November 2012


opportunities

The Rebel Sport/Sun Herald Run4Fun If you live in the Sydney area and want to stretch your legs - and raise money for a charity of your choice, consider taking part in the Rebel Sport/Sun Herald Run4Fun. Happening on Sunday November 4, the Run4Fun gives you the opportunity to get people to sponsor you to run a 10km course through Sydney Park - and the money that they donate for you running will go to a charity that you choose. If you are under 18, entry is $35, and ranges up to $55 for adults. It’s a great opportunity to get fit and help someone else while you are at it. To register, check out www.run4fun.com.au - there are discounts if you register early.

Get Creative With Science and Technology Have you always dreamt of getting all mad-scientist in a lab? Well, dream no more, because the CSIRO has a program just for you. Called the CREST Awards, this is an opportunity to get involved in a real science project - making discoveries on whatever you would like! So, if making a team of robot footballers or developing fairyfloss flavoured soft drink is on your list of things to do, check out the CREST website at www.csiro.au/crest and chat to your school science teachers.

Volunteer With The Oaktree Foundation The Oaktree Foundation is Australia’s only aid and development agency run entirely by young people under the age of 26. Volunteering with Oaktree teaches young people amazing practical skills including project management, overseeing aid and development projects, leadership and team management, strategy, pitching, public speaking, facilitation, campaigning and communications. Head to http://theoaktree.org/ to find out more.

Become A Vibewire Intern With many opportunities to get involved at the Vibewire hub in central Sydney, apply now at www.vibewire.org to become an intern. There is the potential for you to learn about everything from business/human resource management, journalism, project management, event management, arts administration to graphics design, multimedia and website development as part of an internship that can count toward your school or university marks!

Are You A Young Writer Aged 14-17? Yes? The “Younger Young Writers’ Program” at this year’s Young Writers’ Festival is for you! Taking place at Newcastle’s This Is Not Art National Young Writers’ Festival from the 27th - 30th of September, the Younger Young Writers’ program offers the opportunity to have your work published with the assistance of a team of editors, proofreaders and designers. If you are interested in participating, head to www.youngwritersfestival.org - and be sure to register your interest, as there are only limited places available.

Find more great opportunities on the unleash website – www.yapa.org.au/unleash”

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YOUexpress

“Chair� comes to unleash from the talented Sophia Morton, Age 16 of NBSC Mackellar Girls High School Photography. To be featured in you(th) express, send a file of your drawing/painting/collage/photography/poetry/rap/ (anything!) to unleash@yapa.org.au

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unleash October - November 2012


unleashed!

Now that you’ve read about all of the changes that our unleash writers have made, we want to tell you about the biggest change that is happening at unleash:

unleash

is going online only! What does this mean? unleash won’t be available in print after this issue. However, we will have a new home – on the internet!

Will I still be able to read unleash? For sure!

How? You can read the magazine in a nifty PDF format at www.yapa. org.au/unleash. Stay tuned to this address for our up and coming website – it’s going to be awesome.

What’s so good about going online? Rather than just turning the pages of your copy of unleash, now you can get involved in loads of different ways – from chatting to other readers, to writing articles yourself. Online, unleash will become a community for young people’s ideas, action and opinions to get out there.

I’m a subscriber – will I still get unleash? If you’re a subscriber, you’ve already been signed up to receive unleash right in your inbox. Get in touch if you don’t find your copy!

I’m not a subscriber but I want to be – tell me how? Head to www.yapa.org.au/unleash - you’ll find an online form there, or you can email unleash@yapa.org.au

How much pocket money will I lose if I subscribe? None! From now on, subscribing to unleash is FREE!

I have an article or artwork idea – can I contribute? Yes please! Send ideas, articles, artwork, pictures of cats or whatever you’d like to Bridie, unleash’s Editor, at unleash@yapa.org. au. There are prizes ($$) and giveaways for contributors.

I wrote/really loved an article in a past edition of unleash – can I still read it? You sure can! Past editions are all available on the website – it’s like having a whole magazine rack at your fingertips. See you online! Love, unleash.

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unleash October - November 2012

unleash Issue 21  
unleash Issue 21  

unleash Issue 21 - youth ideas, action and opinions

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