A little bit of context
Tens of thousands of young people from all over Europe and Southeast Asia are visiting Australia on 417 holiday visas, enticed by climate, incredible sites and seemingly endless career possibilities. My daughter, Mia Ayliffe-Chung, and Tom Jackson who valliantly tried to save her life, were two of these young people.
But there’s a problem
Shortly into their first year the backpackers realise that they will need to spend the best part of their time trying to find work on a construction site or a farm in order to stay for a second year. The work will be in remote areas, with no internet access. They will not be registered on any scheme, so they are heading into unknown terrritory, and too many of the hostel owners and farmers are unscupulous operators. They may overcrowd their hostels and charge exorbitant rates. The work can often be scarce, and the young people will compete for what few days are available. They may be paid way below the minimum rate, or not at all. The workers can end up in debt, and their passports may be confiscated. Often, no Health and Safety induction is given to the backpackers, and they are forced to use machinery which they are not trained to use. They may work for longer hours than the legal minimumd, in searing 30-40 degree heat, without sufficient water. Injuries are too frequent, and rarely reach the international press. When they occur, the young people may not be given adequate treatment, or told of their rights. Some are not even transported to hospital or informed of the availability of free treatment. In addition, sexual exploitation and rapes occur within the system, and young people are too aftraid of the farmers to report these incidents.
Here’s what we’re doing about it
We are working to make a difference through the following channels:
A social media presence to raise awareness among backpackers and their families of the dangers
Press work, including a TV documentary to be broadcast in the UK and in Australia
An informative website, highlighting the pitfalls of the 88 days and institutions which will deliver on their promises
An emergency fund for rescuing backpackers who find themselves stranded and in need of immediate assistance
You can join us
We need a starting budget of £15k to pay for a website with interactive function with detailed, frequently updated information on all businesses providing work as part of the 88 days of farmwork. To publicise this project, we require a media event on Social Media. Please donate to help save young people from further hardship in Australia. We also require funds to help victims of exploitation who currently require urgent emergency assistance.