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Family member exploited in a restaurant

Prishen,   Indian, 43

Name: Prishen*
Age: 43
Country of Origin: India
Visa type: 3 month holiday visa

Why did Prishen come to Australia?

Prishen came to Australia to visit his relatives and take a break from working in his successful restaurant in his home village in India. He was excited about seeing a new country.

Prishen's relatives run a restaurant in Melbourne and offered to organise his visa, pay for his ticket and let him stay at their house if he agreed to help out at the restaurant during his visit. Prishen didn't have too many details about how much work he would have to do but agreed. Prishen wasn't too worried as he trusted his family members. Prishen didn't realise that he would be coming to Australia on a tourist visa which didn't allow him to work.

What happened when Prishen got to Australia?

When Prishen arrived, he had to work in the restaurant every day for the length of his visa to pay for his flight and to help pay the rent. He had to work every night from 5pm to 1am (without breaks) and was given about $50 per week to cover his expenses. Otherwise, Prishen wasn't paid for any of the work he did.

Prishen was free during his hours off but spent most of the time sleeping so he didn't get to do much sightseeing. Prishen thought that he was helping out his family, but the situation wasn't what he agreed to and soon became very exploitative.

How does Australian law see this?

By allowing Prishen to work in breach of his visa conditions, Prishen's family may have breached the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).

It's an offence to traffic someone to Australia by coercion, threat or deception, for the purposes of exploitation. Whether Prishen has been trafficked depends on what he was told before he came to Australia and what his familys intentions were.

Trafficking, slavery and slavery-like conditions such as forced labour are offences under the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

Forced labour may apply in Prishen's case. Forced labour is when a person doesn't feel free to stop working or leave their workplace because of threats, coercion or deception.

Additionally, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) provides that all employees get minimum pay rates and conditions.


For more information about slavery and the law see:

'I would never have thought that my own relatives would force me into labour. But without any money, I felt I had to work to repay them for allowing me to stay with them.'

*Note: this is just an example and not an actual case


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