Women from various Asian countries are being lured to Australia under the pretense of escaping poverty and living a happy married life; however, too often they are faced with exploitation and oppression.
These brides are living in slave-like marriages, where they are constantly abused. Some have reported being kept in isolation, denied basic rights, exploited for work, restricted to the home and denied money.
Immigration data shows that the women in these marriages are coming from China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam, among others. Many of these women agreed to these marriages to escape poverty and terrible living conditions experienced in their home countries.
Authorities have found it difficult to determine the exact number of women engaging in these relationships because victims are often kept in severe isolation and are punished if they attempt to seek help.
A large part of the problem lies in the fact that women are forbidden to report the crimes and are dependent on their perpetrators for survival. They face the possibility of deportation if their husbands claim they are illegal citizens.
The Walk Free Foundation published a global slavery index in October, which indicated that approximately 3,300 people are living in modern-day slavery in Australia.
Action is being taken to alleviate the problem. Tony Abbott, Australia’s Prime Minister, announced that the country would invest $94 million to fight domestic violence. This money will be focused on women from culturally diverse and indigenous backgrounds. Additionally, forced marriages have been deemed illegal, while forced labor laws were strengthened in 2013.
Jenny Stanger, a Salvation Army worker who works at a refuge for trafficked people in Sydney, said, “It’s an absolute deception on the part of the perpetrator.” She is working tirelessly to see laws passed that will provide these women with options in their situations. “They [the victims] are looking for a way out, so…the more doors we can open, the more likely someone is going to step through that door.”
– Hannah Cleveland