A possie in Aussie

August 11, 2009

Australia on trial in first Southeast Asian Court of Women

The first Southeast Asian Court of Women on HIV and Human Trafficking is being held in Bali. More than 20 Southeast Asian women have narrated their personal stories of exploitation and abuse.

I have been concerned about the 457 visa because, whatever controls the government may put in place, the worker is still beholden to the employer, and therefore reluctant to speak out Chinese slave labour in Australia

The stories sometimes do emerge, but most wait until they are out of the country.

Danton Remoto of ABS/CBN News reports the story of a Filipina woman exploited while on a 457 visa in Australia:

“Amalia was a call-center agent in Manila who wanted a better life for her child, who has learning difficulties, and herself. She was being beaten up by her husband, so she left him and raised her child alone.

“She applied for work in Australia as a Restaurant Duty Manager on a 457 visa. Her sister told her that it was a lopsided visa, since she could work for only one employer, her sponsor, and could not leave even if they were maltreating her. But she did not listen to her sister.

“She flew to Australia, only to discover that she is more of waitress and janitor than manager of the restaurant. She stayed in a cramped apartment with three other Filipinas and had many mysterious deductions in her paycheck. When she and her fellow Filipinas banded together with the help of Migrante and Buhay Foundation and asked for better treatment and just wages, the restaurant management fired them, citing the economic crunch as a reason.

“She returned to Manila and has filed a case against her employer, speaking out against the ills of not getting full information about the contract, culture and context of one’s foreign employment.” Filipina workers testify in Southeast Asian Court of Woman

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