Taipei, Dec. 5 (CNA) The Taiwan government expressed concern to the Australian authorities Thursday after eight Taiwanese women on working holidays were reportedly asked by their Australian employer to perform sex acts in exchange for additional working hours in 2018.
Multiple Australian media outlets cited an Australian worker's union representative that day as saying that the eight women entered Australia on working holiday visas in 2018 and took jobs picking fruit in the Riverland region of South Australia.
Their employer and landlord provided them with a three-bedroom house for A$350 per week, but paid them only A$16 per hour, the union representative was quoted as saying.
In order to afford the accommodation, their boss would expect them to "perform sexual favors in return for more hours," the representative said.
The women endured this treatment for six months until they finally threatened to go to the media to expose their employer, according to the representative. They have all since left Australia, according to the news reports.
Asked to comment, Taiwan's foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said the nation's representative office in Australia has not received any complaints regarding the allegations.
The office will ask the relevant Australian authorities to investigate the reports and get to the bottom of the matter, she added.
The spokeswoman reminded Taiwanese nationals visiting Australia that they can call the ministry's 24-hour toll-free hotline at +886-800-085-095 should they need emergency assistance.
Taiwanese on working holidays can also reach out to the Australian Fair Work Ombudsman and/or the Fair Work Commission should they encounter work-related issues while in the country, Ou noted.
Australia is the number one destination for Taiwanese heading overseas on working holiday programs, with over 20,000 visiting Australia under the scheme in 2018.