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Migrant exploitation is groundhog day

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OPINION: After almost 40 years in journalism there are some subjects I hope never to write about again. Migrant exploitation is one of them.

But it keeps happening, and we keep writing about it because it is unfair, unethical and illegal.

A decade ago I did several exposes about the appalling treatment meted out to migrant dairy workers, dumped on farms without any ongoing support, underpaid and overworked.

There was the worker virtually kept prisoner on a North Canterbury farm because he had borrowed heavily to come here, couldn't afford a vehicle and his boss would not lend him one so it was four months before he set foot off the property.

When he asked his recruiter to move him to another farm his employer threatened to have him deported, and sleuthing by a migrant dairy worker group discovered some of its members were earning up to $5000 a year more than others doing the same job.

* Shameful exploitation of vulnerable migrant workers
* Migrant workers exploited by other migrants in New Zealand
* Freebie labour and the story of Robinwood Farm
* Working for a bed - Kiwi hospitality or a big rip off?

Then there were the young travellers working unpaid or for well below minimum wage in exchange for a free bed, thousands of them passing through ​Robinwood Farm near Christchurch where their rations included leftovers from supermarket waste bins.

Backpacker hostels, motels, farms and hospitality........

© Stuff