Laura Vidal of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand from Marrickville, NSW is a finalist in the 2019 HESTA Community Sector Awards.
Laura Vidal from Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand is recognised for supporting and advocating for those impacted by human trafficking, slavery and slavery-like practices including forced marriage. Laura is highly regarded for her work in understanding and responding to forced marriage. She has spent over ten years supporting and advocating for those impacted by human trafficking and slavery, including developing and delivering case management services at Australia’s only Safe House for women escaping human trafficking and slavery.
Forced marriage is embedded within criminal justice processes and access to support services relies on people reporting their experience to the police, for this reason Laura has advocated that criminal justice legislation not be the only method of support for those affected by forced marriage.
Laura has authored numerous Government submissions including the Combatting Child Sexual Exploitation Legislation Amendment Bill (2019) and the Modern Slavery Bill (2018). She also supported the work of Good Shepherd International with their Statement to the Commission on the Status of Women to the United Nations and presented research findings and practice experience at the 2018 Girls Not Brides Global Conference in Malaysia. She also engages regularly with state and federal parliamentarians, their advisers and the NSW Interim Anti-Slavery Commissioner.