WHEN Sandra was offered a chance to travel to Sydney for paid work and a view to permanent residency by the Australian family she working for in the Pacific Islands, she leapt at the chance. She would initially be supported by the family she worked for, and then she would have an income, she would have freedom, and a chance to support her own family, she thought. But the reality was far more grim. The situation Sandra ended up in is unthinkable to most Australians, but the reality for thousands.
Sandra became a slave. “My passport was taken when I arrived,” she said. “I did all of their housework, washing, ironing, gardening, took care of the dogs and the swimming pool. I worked hard every day. “They would threaten me, swear at me, I was not allowed out of the house and could not contact my family. They had control over my whole life.” The situation went on for three years, and Sandra’s permanent residency wasn’t looking any closer. She had become fearful for her safety.
dra told her story as part of a campaign by the Salvation Army to end modern slavery — a more pressing issue than most of us realise. The organisation supported Sandra on her journey out of modern slavery, and aims to relieve the estimated 4300 Australians suffering the same torture. On