’88 days a slave’: British backpacker moans that she had to get up early and do ‘hard graft and long’ four-hour days while fruit picking – and complains that the bathrooms were too dirty
- British backpacker claimed hostel tricked her into slave labour on a fruit farm
- Stephanie Banasko left England for Australia to stay in the country for two years
- As part of visa requirement she must work 88 days on a farm to stay in country
- She claimed she has to pay $235 a week to share a hostel with 100 people
A British backpacker has claimed she was lured into slave labour when she was made to wake up early and work more than four hours a day on an Australian fruit farm.
Stephanie Banasko, 25, said that a hostel in the Bundaberg region, central Queensland, tricked her into the scheme.
‘They falsely advertise jobs on their website that don’t exist to entice people in, take all their hard-earned money for rent and put them on a piece rate job, which is slave labour,’ Ms Banasko claimed in an interview with regional newspaper NewsMail.
A British backpacker has claimed she was lured into slave labour after she was made to wake up early and work more than four hours a day on a fruit farm (pictured, Stephanie Banasko)
Ms Banasko had high aspirations when travelling to Australia and intended to stay in the country for two years
When Ms Banasko left her home Liverpool in England to travel to Australia, she had big dreams and planned to stay in the country for two years.
But she didn’t realise the 88 days she had to work on a farm to earn the necessary visa was far from her idyllic vision of ‘being bare foot in fresh soil and picking fruit in the morning sun’.
‘It’s waking up at the crack of dawn, hard graft, long hours and ruthlessly repetitive which is mentally draining but if you drop on to a good job it can be a magical time,’ she said.
Ms Banasko said she could work anywhere between four to eight hours a day, seven days a week.
On top of these hours, she had to pay $235 a week to share a place with several backpackers.
‘You pay for (the) luxury of sharing a kitchen with 100 people, a room with three others that’s not big enough to swing a cat in, bathrooms so dirty you feel cleaner before you shower and the pleasure of having cockroaches and mice as dinner dates,’ she said.
Ms Banasko said she could work anywhere between four to eight hours a day, seven days a week
Ms Banasko claimed hostel management played on the desperation of backpackers and lined them up with poor paying jobs and treated them like cattle.
She said their unethical practice had jeopardised the benefits gained from multinationals working on farms and sharing their thoughts with their bosses.
The manager of the hostel reportedly dismissed Ms Banasko and her claims of mistreatment, and said most of the backpackers happily returned to the hostel.
They said they could not always promise farm work because of the unpredictable weather, but they were sure to email backpackers of any changes.