When he was 26 and starting out as a boxer in the Philippines, Mr Czar Amonsot received an offer that he thought he could not refuse. He and four other boxers were approached by a Filipino-Australian man and offered flights to Australia and full-time boxing opportunities. When they arrived in Sydney, they discovered that the promise of boxing work and money was a ruse. The five Filipinos were housed in a garage and forced to do manual tasks seven days a week for the man’s extended family. Their passports were kept by the man and they received no pay. “We became slaves at their house,” said Mr Amonsot, now 32. “We didn’t have money. We couldn’t go out. We didn’t know what to do or where to go.” Such cases are sadly unexceptional in Australia, where there are estimated to be more than 4,300 modern slaves, including trafficked and coerced workers.
In response, the government has launched a crackdown on modern slavery, including proposed legislation to force companies to produce an annual anti-slavery statement to show that their operations and supply chains are not relying on exploited labour or trafficking.
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