Date: 2 Aug 2017
Each year thousands of Pacific island workers come to Australia to work on farms. Allegations of mistreatment are worryingly reminiscent of the era of bonded labour ‘blackbirding’, campaigners say
Silas Aru had never known a day’s work where all he had to eat were some of the tomatoes he’d picked.
The Ni-Vanuatu man had come to Australia seeking the chance to work, in order to pay school fees for his children’s education.
But he spent his time in the country in bonded labour: hungry, unpaid, shunted from farm to farm without explanation, and abused and threatened when he asked for his wages. “It was like slavery times,” he told the Australian federal court.