We have always been very concerned about how many students are caught in exploitation. Because, the problem with ‘modern slavery’ is that it is hidden. If this report is the findings after only 6,000 students were surveyed, one has to ask how many are not even found because they have been trapped in circumstances they cannot escape.
Here are the key points found by just two of our Sydney Universities.
Foreign students are being subjected to high levels of wage theft according to a new report from the University of NSW and UTS.
- Half of the 6,000 international students surveyed were paid less than the minimum wage
- More than 25 per cent were paid less than $12 an hour
- The report authors say COVID-19 could make things even worse for international students
Researchers found nothing had changed since a landmark survey four years ago revealed foreign students were some of this country’s most exploited workers and the COVID-19 recession could make it worse.
“There is the potential for a real perfect storm,” report co-author and UTS Law associate professor Laurie Berg told 7.30.
“Increased exploitation, where international students are more desperate for the income, employers might be trying to cut costs, and jobs are more scarce.”
Read the full story here.
Why does this happen?
At the Freedom Hub we work with people who have trapped in modern slavery in Australia. So we have found that International students are very vulnerable because they need to support themselves in a country they are unfamiliar with. Because, many do not understand our laws and workers rights. Also many come from countries with poor human rights, no workers rights and a lot of corruption. Arriving in Australia, they can easily think it is the same here. Many students must work in on a farm as part of their visas and get caught in slavery like conditions.
Only last week one of our Indonesian survivors went for a job in a restaurant in Auburn. There she was told that after she had worked for a while they will decide what she is worth. But she would need to prove she is a hard worker and even then it would unlikely be more than $10 cash an hour. Fortunately we could advise her to stay well away and we are helping her apply for other jobs.
You can find out more about our work with victims of slavery in Australia here.
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