This is a Survivors Story of Freedom from modern slavery in the area of forced labour * right here in Australia.
I grew up in an area of Turkey and lost my parents in a war. My grandparents raised my siblings and me, but now they are old and can’t work. So when an agent said I could work in the beauty industry in Australia – and earn ten times the amount I earn at home – I was very happy and immediately signed the paperwork agreeing to go.
When I landed in Australia, the agent took me to my new house where I had to share a bedroom with six people, sleeping on the floor. I grew up sharing a small space with my family, so I didn’t think anything was wrong. They took my passport for the visa to be organised, and I was introduced to my new boss.
My first day, I worked 14 hours without any break for food.
I could only go to the bathroom twice a day and had five minutes at 11am and 3pm to eat whatever food I brought from home. That first week I barely ate anything; I had no money. The other women shared some of their food with me.
After my first week I was paid $80. I had worked seven days from 7am to 9pm. Even though it was hard work I got more money than I had ever had. I was in this job for 16 months. As the months went by I started to get sick. My back was very painful and every time I ate I was in pain.
Forced Labour and Abuse
One day I was too sick to go to work and my boss kicked me in the stomach because I complained. I couldn’t move for four days, I had so much pain. My boss would come in and hit me to try and get me to get up, but I couldn’t. When I finally managed to work again I got very ill and collapsed. That’s when one of my customers helped and I ended up in hospital.
They told me I was lucky to be alive. The police asked questions about the bruises on my body – and they went to rescue all the other women.
From Forced Labour to Freedom:
Now I am learning English and studying office and life skills at The Freedom Hub Survivor School. I want to work in an office, as I love organising and working on the computer. When I can get my identity papers again, I’m hoping to get my first proper job next year, and start saving money to go home to my family. I love the feeling of freedom I get when I study. I could not dream to be so lucky when I was a child.
[*This is an account of one of our survivor’s slavery situation, however some details are changed to protect identity.]
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Tomorrows Article: will be about the work of the Survivor School for victims of slavery In Australia.
ABOUT 16 DAYS OF FREEDOM
Thank you for your part in this 16 Days of Freedom. We cannot change things without awareness so please share this post with your friends. Here are the hashtags for your share: #16daysoffreedom #freedomhuborg #womensrights #orangetheworld
16 Days of Freedom is a campaign we are running to align with the UN awareness campaign United Nations’ UNiTE campaign on gender violence against women and girls. We are focussing on women and girls in modern slavery.
For 16 days we will post a story to highlight the issue. To end the 16days we invite you to come to or host a Festive High Tea for Human Rights. These will be held on or near the UN Human Rights Day on the 10th December.
You can join our High Tea for Human Rights in Waterloo, Sydney, by clicking HERE.
You can Host your own High Tea by registering HERE and we will send you an information and fact sheet to read or distribute to your guests.
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