Home' The Southern Cross : May 2015 Contents Page 10 May 2015
Adelaide Catholic youth Maddie Kelly and
Elise Ganley have walked through the red
light district of an Indian slum praying for
the hundreds of sex slaves trafficked there
on the promise of a better life.
“I was praying for protection for these
women because I can’t even begin to
verbalise how confronting it was to see,”
“Many of the women are victims of sex
trafficking, often trafficked in from Nepal,
and some are as young as 12,” she says.
“It was a very hostile environment.”
“It was the most soul destroying place we
visited,” says Elise.
The Adelaide women, both university
students involved in Catholic social justice
and youth groups, earlier this year took
part in a prayer walk through the main
thoroughfare of one of Mumbai’s notorious
red light districts. They were in India for
11 days with several other youth from
Australia, Canada and the UK as part
of a biannual immersion trip with non-
government organisation Stop the Traffik.
Maddie says girls from impoverished
regions are most vulnerable to sex
trafficking. She says they are lured over the
Indian border from Nepal on the promise
of domestic work by traffickers who
themselves are poor and in need of quick,
“And the women’s children live in the
brothels with their mothers so they witness
all that goes on there and are often
Maddie and Elise also visited the world’s
largest tea growing region in Assam where
tea plantations trap generations into
slave labour, and a school and shelter in
Hyderabad where young ritual sex slaves
can find refuge.
They have returned to Adelaide determined
to share with South Australian schools
their eye witness accounts of human
trafficking in a bid to educate and inspire
social responsibility to take action.
“It really filled within us a desire to raise
awareness to people back home and
advocate on behalf of those people who
don’t have a voice,” says Maddie. “Human
trafficking is an issue that affects us all
because we can help prevent it by making
ethical choices about products we buy and
by doing our part in rising against human
Elise says while each place she visited had
its own confronting injustice, there was a
sense of hope that awareness and action
can prevent trafficking and slave labour.
In the southern Indian city of Hyderabad,
Elise says she visited the Good Shepherd
School, run by a Christian group, where
children from India’s lowest caste (a
system of social division in India) were
educated. She said the school’s first
graduates were now studying law and
“These children are very vulnerable to
trafficking because of the belief that they
are worthless people and they can be used
in servitude,” she says.
Among the 500 students at the school
were 40 “Jogini” – girls destined by
bloodline to become ritual sex slaves in
Hindu temples as soon as they hit puberty.
Elise says the school has helped save
hundreds of Jogini from sex slavery over
its 15 years of operation and that more
schools like it could save thousands more.
Maddie is the social justice coordinator
for St Aloysius College, is part of Antioch
Brighton and a volunteer at Edmund Rice
Camps, Red Cross and Legacy. Elise is
the fundraising promoter for World Vision
Australia and up until last year the national
coordinator for Australian Young Christian
Students. Both women are involved with
Australian Catholic Religious Against
Trafficking of Humans.
Maddie Kelly and Elise Ganley are
available to make presentations to
schools, parishes and youth groups on
their experiences of human trafficking
in India. For more information contact:
Maddie on 0430 221 193 or mkelly@sac.
sa.edu.au and Elise on 0407 514 283 or
| living catholic
The Southern Cross continues its Living Catholic page which features articles and photographs highlighting the many good works that often go
unnoticed but make a big difference to people’s lives and to the community in general. Parishes are invited to submit suggestions for stories
that demonstrate in a practical sense Living Catholic. Please send an email to email@example.com.
A Catholic convert who turns 81 later this
year has spent the past 25 years helping
to keep St Pius X Church spotless.
Every fourth Thursday, Dernancourt
parishioner Betty Matthews can be found
with her son Philip and fellow parishioners
Ian and Ann Goss dusting, vacuuming and
cleaning toilets at the church.
“I usually clean half the church with the
vacuum cleaner and Ann does the other
half,” says Betty.
It’s a ministry that few know occurs but
she says it is important.
“It’s God’s house and it needs to be kept
neat and tidy,” she says. “If you can’t clean
His house, well, then whose house can
The spritely great grandmother of 13
volunteered to clean St Pius X Church in
1990 after reading a call for help in the
A resolute volunteer, she rarely misses a
rostered cleaning day and eagerly calls on
her family to do their share. Her daughter
Mary-ann and her son Philip, his wife
Narelle and their children Emmaline and
Michaela are among those who have lent
Betty says in the early days, when there
were more volunteers, she would clean the
church once every three months, however
these days it’s more like once every
month on a rotational roster of about 20
“We always need more cleaners,” she
Betty became a devoted Catholic after
attending Mass for the first time when she
was 18 years old. “I just felt good (being
there),” she says of the experience. “I can’t
explain the feeling.”
She has been a parishioner at Dernancourt
since St Pius X Church was built in 1976.
She attends Mass there every Sunday.
She has been a Meals on Wheels volunteer
for the past five years and for the past 27
years has been visiting the Valley View
Nursing Home where she calls bingo for
the residents each week.
“I love the old people; they are so
beautiful,” she says.
POLISHED PRESENCE: 80-year-
old Dernancourt parishioner Betty
Matthews has helped clean St Pius X
Church for the past 25 years.
God’s spick-and-span nan
RISE UP: (L-R) Elise Ganley and Maddie Kelly back in Adelaide after a confronting
visit to India earlier this year where they met victims of human trafficking face to
face. Below right: Maddie and Elise at an anti-trafficking rally in a slum in Mumbai.
Women fighting for
trafficked sex slaves
By Rebecca DiGirolamo
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