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Development   /  Christina Stenseth

88 Days a Slave

Exploited, underpaid and sexually harassed. The unregulated underbelly of Australia’s horticulture industry.

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Impact areas

HUMAN RIGHTS & SOCIAL JUSTICE

Crew

  • DIRECTOR Christina Stenseth, Mark Poole

  • PRODUCER Penny Robins

Synopsis

DURATION: 82 MINUTES

A story of abuse, sexual harassment, wage slavery and racism – taking place in secret on Australian farms.

Directed by Christina Stenseth, 88 Days a Slave unearths the troubling stories of young internationals involved in Australia’s controversial Working Holiday Visa Scheme and the substandard treatment they’ve experienced working on rural farms.

As someone who has experienced exploitation on farms firsthand, Christina exposes the abuses international workers are forced to deal with and how Australian farmers are reliant upon seasonal workers to pick their crops. The recent pressure caused by COVID-19 to cover labour shortages has only increased these issues.

Exploring unsafe work practices, accommodation scams and challenging conditions, 88 Days a Slave gives a fresh perspective on Australia’s farm practices that have been hidden away until now.

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6.45% funded
  • $350,000.00

    FUNDING GOAL
  • $22,560.00

    FUNDS RAISED
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Donations

Geir S $300.00
John Hughes $100.00
Patrick Hill $25.00
Ana Rita Miranda $10.00
Screen Australia (OFFLINE DONATION) $22,000.00
Megara Arsenik $25.00
Kate Samardzic $20.00
Cecilie Brandal $50.00
Sindre Holten $20.00
Anonymous $10.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Beneath the stories of wage theft, exploitation, and harassment, the film explores the underlying reasons why these practices have become so ingrained. And why are they tolerated? We explore the underlying or unconscious racism that bubbles under the surface in Australia, the tolerance of wage slavery, and the willingness to exploit casual labour from outsiders that seems too convenient. Somehow our eyes are shut to the realities and the situation is accepted nationwide. Is it to keep food prices low? Is it because these young people are from overseas and are not “our boys and girls” and will return to their own countries soon enough? Why is it that these events have been going on for years, but nobody does anything about it? This film aims to present the situation so that change will be seen as necessary and important.

Impact

What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

88 Days a Slave sheds a light on a national issue of exploitation and unethical use of internationals wishing to extend their visa through farm work. Our goal is to ignite change in these regions where the exploitation and mistreatment and unsafe working environment is taking place. The desired result is for employers to comply with new and stricter regulations that provide farm workers with a fair and safe stay.

Outcomes

What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Short-term:
Increased Audience awareness.

Viewers engaging by sending ‘Demand for Change Letters’ to Government.

Viewers engaging in discussions through social media.

Increased donations towards better conditions.

International awareness that increases pressure for change.

Medium-term:
Implementation of protective policies and regulations ensuring farms meet National Employment Standards (NES).

Licensing of labour hire contractors in all states.

Piece-rate agreements of certain crops not meeting minimum wage requirements eliminated.

Mediums providing visibility of safe stay hostels and healthy work environments.

Long-term:
Reduced number of incidents and deaths.

All Working Holiday Visa Holders receive correct payment.

Government agency providing a safety net for backpackers that experience exploitation and/or incidents.

Activities

How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

We plan to achieve our outcomes by actively measuring our performance indicators for short, medium and long term outcomes. By analysing our performance we will continuously identify and refine strategic goals and activities. This will ensure our audience is constantly provided with engagement activities through social media campaigns and other activities such as posting ‘Demand for Change Letters’ to government agencies. By continuously providing audience with engaging activities we want them to gain a sense of ownership. This gives our cause momentum as the audience grows and participants increase.

Stakeholders

How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

To be announced.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

We hope for viewers to be engaged and help us start a debate about the treatment and living conditions of Working Holiday Visa Holders (WHVH). We have divided our main segments in to two groups;
Government agencies
Millennials and digital nomads

Below engagement activities aim to involve our segments in our goal to improve working conditions.

At our screenings, the audience will be provided a template ‘Demand for Change’ letter where they can fill in their details, place it in an envelope, and put it in our mailbox at the end of the screening, which we will send to Department of Immigration.

- Write to politicians to change policies through our promotion webpage.
We aim for 1000 viewers/supporters to send a letter through our webpage, forcing government to take measures for improvement within 2022.
-Promote the film via social media. Word of mouth - Showing support for our campaign by promotion through social media.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Indicators of change track;

Number of viewers/viewings

‘Demand for Change Letters’ sent to the government

Social Media engagement - Hashtags and Powerful statements

Donations towards development of safety providing networks

Number of hosted screenings

International views and engagement

Implemented regulations

Number of provided licenses to Employers

Development of media allowing visibility of safe stays/work such as apps

Our impact vision is achieved when;

We see a reduction of incidents/fatalities

Visa holders receiving unfair pay is declining

Visa holders are receiving government support in difficult situations