Migrant Workers Facing Separation
The challenges facing seasonal workers, particularly women migrant workers, can be life-changing. Many families are separated because a mother or father in the family has to leave home to secure better pay and greater security for their family. In the case of mirgant workers the separation can last for years.
Sr Jean Quinn DW, Executive Director of UNANIMA International, says the majority of migrant domestic workers around the world are women and girls, and they are extremely vulnerable to violence and abuse. Many leave their homes because of poverty, conflict, climate-related disasters or violence for the promise of a better life for themselves and their families.
While most season workers coming to Australia from the Pacific and Timor Leste will not suffer abuse, many suffer from years of separation from their families and many other personal hardships..
ACRATH Forced Labour Worker SrTaabeia lbouri sgs from Kiribati is very familiar with the challenges of separation people face, particularly those from her homeland. She said households of 10 to 15 people could not survive on the wages they earn locally, and so come to Australia seeking more money and security for their families. One incident shone a light on the difficulties migrating workers face.
During a Diocesan Assembly in Port Pirie, Sr Taabeia met with seasonal workers who worked at a tomato plantation in Port Augusta. There were sixteen workers – 12 women and 4 men and most had children. At a park gathering with people from Kiribati Sr Taabeia was heartbroken to hear many of them talk about the children they had left behind to come to Australia to work. At the party one woman brought two cakes to celebrate her twin’s second birthday. Listen to Sr Taabeia talk about the factors leading to the migration of workers and some of the issues they encounter.