Maria’s education finished at the age of 13 when she had to leave school to look after her younger siblings at their home in the Philippines. By the time she was 25, Maria was working long hours in a sewing factory for just 10 dollars a week; well below the country’s average monthly salary of 300 dollars a month. Maria didn’t know much about Australia but when an aunt organised domestic work for her with a promised salary of up to 800 dollars a month, it’s not surprising that she jumped at the chance.

She arrived in Australia full of hope for a future where she could work and earn a decent wage to help provide for her family back home. This was her dream but the reality was very different – her employer, Mr K and his wife forced Maria to work 12 hour days for seven days a week in their shop and then perform domestic duties in their home in the evenings. Even worse, Maria was kept as a virtual prisoner in the shop and the house and Mr K sexually assaulted her regularly. Maria was too afraid to escape and report her ordeal.

Eventually, with the help of one of Mr and Mrs K’s family members, Maria was able to leave this situation.