Forced labour has occurred when a person would not consider themselves to be free to stop or to leave work, because of force or threats, or due to being tricked.
- Is the person being forced to work?
- Does the person have a large debt or bond?
- Is the person a child, or performing work against the law?
- Is the person unsure of their employment and working conditions?
- Is the person made to work unusual and/or excessive hours?
- Is the person subject to dangerous working conditions, such as unsafe work practices, or an unreasonably unhygienic work environment?
- Is the person living at the workplace or at a place controlled by the employers?
- Is the employer unable to provide records of wages paid to the person?
On 6 October 2011, Mr Diveye Trivedi pled guilty to one count of people trafficking (s 271.2(1B) of Criminal Code). Between 2007 and 2008, Mr Trivedi organised the travel of an Indian male to Australia in order to work as a chef in one of his Indian restaurants. Upon arrival, the man was subjected to exploitative conditions which included: being forced to live and bathe at the restaurant and work an average of 12 hours a day, seven days a week for minimal pay; being consistently abused, both physically and mentally; and receiving threats against his person and his family.
On 8 May 2012, Mr Trivedi was sentenced to 250 hours’ community service and a fine of $1,000. To date this is the only conviction for labour trafficking in Australia. See also the case of Kovacs below, where the defendants were charged over similar treatment under the slavery provisions of the Criminal Code.
To read another story concerning forced labour in the restaurant industry, click here.
If you or a person you know is in immediate danger, call 000.