The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday confirmed reports that eight Taiwanese women who last year traveled to Australia on working holiday visas were forced to perform sexual favors for their employer.
In a report published in October titled Slavery and Slavery-like Practices in South Australia: A Report, Flinders University associate professor Marinella Marmo cited an anonymous representative of Australia’s National Union of Workers as saying that eight Taiwanese women on working holiday visas in South Australia’s Riverland region were “expected to, if they wanted to get to work, so they could afford to pay for all these other things, perform sexual favors to get more hours.”
They were “in that environment for quite some time before they were able to speak up, for six months,” the report said.
The women, who have all since left Australia, did not request assistance from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Australia at the time, the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry and the office would continue to seek details about the case from the Australian authorities, it said.
The ministry reminded Taiwanese on working holidays to take self-protection measures and remain alert, saying that when Taiwanese encounter emergencies or mistreatment and require assistance, they should contact the ministry or its overseas offices immediately.
In Australia, Taiwanese can also report situations to the Fair Work Ombudsman or the Fair Work Commission, the ministry said.
Taiwanese on working holidays abroad should follow “seven don’ts and five dos,” the ministry said.
Do not work illegally, overstay, engage in dangerous activities, speed, drive under the influence, drive while tired, or accept packages or mail from unknown senders, it said.
Do remember to log the trip, maintain contact with family members, purchase medical insurance, pay attention to workplace safety, and follow local laws and traffic regulations, it added.
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