Corrs’ ties with leading international humanitarian aid agency, Hagar, have been reinforced with a visit to the firm’s Melbourne and Brisbane offices by Hagar CEO Kate Kennedy.

In a video-linked presentation to all offices, Kate applauded the work achieved so far under a Corrs and Hagar collaboration, noting access to legal rights was a critical component of humanitarian outcomes.

“Hagar Australia works with women and children in Afghanistan, Cambodia and Vietnam whose lives have been torn apart by severe human rights abuses. This kind of abuse occurs in countries with a trauma backdrop, characterised by extreme poverty and a weak justice system. Law has a key part to play in squashing slavey,” Kate said.

“Hagar is deeply appreciative of the ongoing support provided by Corrs, who continue to provide essential legal advice, as well as funding a lawyer to work in our legal clinic in Cambodia.”

Modern slavery is now one of the world’s largest criminal trades, second only to drugs. Estimated to be worth $32 billion each year, over half of the slave trade occurs in neighbouring South East Asian countries.

Corrs’ partner and pro bono manager, Heidi Roberts, said Corrs was committed to working with Hagar to facilitate long-term humanitarian aid efforts through the provision of pro bono legal services and other in kind services.

“Corrs has developed a close and hands-on relationship with Hagar – from advising at a senior level on Hagar’s corporate restructure, to Corrs’ representatives visiting areas of poverty in South East Asia firsthand to hold legal master classes,” Heidi said.

A Corrs’ team (Julie Cameron, Jake Radloff, Michael Song and Patrick McClenaghan) will now work towards Hagar’s accreditation with AusAID. This would significantly increase the pool of critical funding available to Hagar Australia, in particular from the Australian Government.

“Law plays a key part in human rights protection. As a law firm aware of its responsibility to the wider community, Corrs is proud of what this collaboration has been able to achieve so far. We look forward to our continued work with Hagar to grow the program and further reduce human rights suffering in South East Asia,” Heidi said.

Corrs Legal Support has also come on board to assist with Hagar fundraising initiatives. The team will raise money this July for the ‘catch up’ education of Cambodian children affected by slavery and human rights abuse through the Corrs’ Uniforms for Hagar Campaign 2013. Miniature ‘uniforms’ will be sold for $13, the cost of one real uniform.

For more on Hagar’s work click here.

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