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Edition 61


Debt in paradise

On the ground with wage theft

ANNIE TRIED TO leave. She had no cash, just a car full of possessions. She’d worked full-time for four weeks with not a cent to show for it.

‘Wait on, you owe us $60.’

She couldn’t believe it. ‘Uh, no I don’t.’

The manager showed her a computer printout.

‘You haven’t paid me for four weeks, how do you expect me to pay you?’

‘Well, we can’t let you leave.’

‘How are you going to do that?’

‘We’ll call the police and we’ll clamp your car.’

‘Are you serious?’

But she knew he was. He had clamped so many cars someone had told a local paper ‘hostels in North Korea are run better than here’.

‘Well, I don’t have any money that I can give you.’

So he made her sign a piece of paper that said Annie owed the Company $60.

It wasn’t what she’d expected, in this tropical haven. Debt in paradise. She had gone there, a month earlier, just to get away... Read more

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From Griffith Review Edition 61: Who We Are © Copyright Griffith University & the author.

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