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Development   /  Christina Stenseth

88 Days a Slave

Exploited, underpaid and sexually harassed - Same story, different backpacker.


Impact areas



  • DIRECTOR Christina Stenseth, Mark Poole

  • PRODUCER Penny Robins



This film explores a largely unknown example of modern slavery and unconscious racism
in Australia. Young international travellers are exploited, underpaid and sexually harassed
when they take part in the Working Holiday Scheme. They work long hours for little pay
while living in horrendous conditions as they complete 88 days of farm work to secure
their second-year visa under the scheme. The film follows the lives of 3 young backpackers
determined to finish their 88 days while facing unexpected and unwelcome challenges
in their rural jobs. We capture their highs and lows working in exotic and remote rural
locations. As new friendships are formed, we glimpse the interconnected backpacking
community across Australia, whilst questioning the merits of this scheme.

Support this project

6.32% funded
  • $350,000.00

  • $22,125.00

  • 6

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





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

Despite the already existing issues within the Working Holiday Scheme, the government as of 1 July opened for an option of a 3rd-year visa. This new addition requires backpackers to complete an additional 6 months of farm work on top of the already challenging 88 days. The Fair Work Ombudsman has previously consulted with 4000+ Working Holiday Makers where more than a third claimed they were paid less than the minimum wage, and another third stated that they didn’t receive some or all of their obligatory payments. As well as being exploited and underpaid, Working Holiday Visa Holders are also reporting sexual harassment while working on farms in regional Australia. Many put up with this inhumane treatment in order to complete their farmwork to continue to stay in the country on the Working Holiday Scheme.


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 farms to comply with new and stricter regulations that provide farm workers with a fair and safe stay.


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

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.

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.

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.


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