The push to have a human rights framework introduced in South Australia, which will also combat incidents of modern slavery, will gather momentum at a forum on Thursday December 10, scheduled to coincide with International Human Rights Day.
The online forum will feature Flinders University’s Associate Professor Marinella Marmo presenting information from a report showing that conditions during the disrupted COVID-19 work environment have resulted in some international students being subjected to extreme exploitation akin to slavery.
Associate Professor Marmo’s findings have been submitted a new report to the SA Wage Theft Committee – a joint submission with ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans).]
This document, addressing the committee’s new terms of reference that includes modern slavery and COVID-19 impact, states that some international students are currently being exploited but say they are quite content with their overall situation – because they say the alternative is much worse, such as being subjected to heavy work in a farm, or having no job at all.
“Their reaction is a direct consequence of 2020 being a year affected by COVID-19 outcomes,” says Associate Professor Marmo.
“The pandemic has exacerbated extreme exploitation akin to slavery in SA across 2020. Some temporary visa holders, especially international students who arrived by February 2020, are now quite content to accept – with knowledge – below-standard labour practices.”