SBS language | Conviction of Sydney couple who admitted to committing slavery-like offenses

Rockdale couple Joshua McAleer and his wife Shiela McAleer were convicted today of slavery-like offenses after luring a Filipino woman to Australia and forcing her to work around the clock as domestic help in their Sydney home and business, including the Kapamilya. grocery stores and restaurants across Sydney.

Ms McAleer, a mother of three who enjoys shopping in high-end fashion boutiques, will be jailed for 3 years and 3 months, with a 14-month parole release.

Mr McAleer was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months but is out on bail until the judge can assess whether he can serve his sentence in the community.

Both were ordered to pay the victim a total of $ 70,000.

Strong points

  • A couple who made a Filipina work as a slave will face long prison terms and be forced to repay them $ 70,000.
  • The victim arrived in Australia in 2013 after Ms McAleer paid for her passport and a three-month tourist visa which prevented her from working.
  • The judge noted that the McAleer case is a rare example of a prosecution involving charges of forced labor and accommodation of an illegal non-citizen, with only one other prosecution in Australia to date.

The victim, who cannot be identified, worked as a housekeeper and nanny, in the McAleers’ house in Sydney, and later in the Rockdale family’s grocery store and restaurant.

The victim was manipulated and his movements restricted.

She was financially dependent on the couple and was threatened with harm if she tried to leave. It is alleged that she was forced to work non-stop all day and night as a housekeeper and babysitter for the three McAleer children.

She was not free to leave the house without permission and was forced to use a false name in public.

Detective Superintendent Paula Hudson of AFP’s Trafficking Specialists Command has said many more cases may be hiding in plain sight.

“These cases like this today are shocking and really heartbreaking to be honest with you, they happen more regularly. People and the community may think that human trafficking and slavery doesn’t happen in Australia. , but nothing could be further from the truth. It is happening and is happening here, in our own communities and in our own backyards. “

AFP says these cases are truly traumatic for victims of trafficking and slavery-type offenses. Their message to victims that there is help available and a way out of these shocking situations.

AFP said it had received 223 reports of trafficking and slavery in the past year, but they fear the real numbers may be much higher due to a lack of reports.

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