Marriage visas under Australia’s partner migration scheme are being used to bring women in for exploitation, study shows
Kanya thought she was starting a new life in Australia after arriving from India to marry her husband, but it quickly turned into a nightmare.
She was barred from going out alone, forced to cook and clean for her partner’s family, and made to sleep outdoors if she did not complete her tasks.
The fate of the 18-year-old, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, mirrors that of others in “slave-like” relationships that Salvation Army worker Jenny Stanger has taken in at a Sydney refuge for trafficked people in recent years.
The women were lured to Australia by the promise of a happy marriage, only to be exploited by their partners.
“It’s an absolute deception on the part of the perpetrator,” Stanger said of a problem involving nearly a quarter of her safehouse’s residents. Immigration figures show women in such situations come from China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam among other countries. “Marriage was the tool that was used to exploit the women for profit, gain or personal advantage.”
In a typical case, the migrant wife would face “extreme isolation, extreme denial of their basic rights around freedom of movement, possibly an exploitation of their labour … and being denied money”, Stanger said.