Backpackers coerced into sexual favours by farm employers

WORKING backpackers are being manipulated into performing sexual acts in return for employers signing off on visa applications, Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Commissioner (ADCQ) says.   

Commissioner Kevin Cocks says there has been at least a dozen instances of farm employers coercing travellers seeking work into performing sexual favours in the Lockyer Valley alone over the past 18 months. 

"Young women are asked for sexual favours to get their visa signed off," Mr Cocks confirmed to the ABC.

"Often the contractors provide accommodation as well, so women are being put in quite vulnerable situations.

"We've had a number of direct or indirect issues raised with us by the community members, police and other government agencies.

"What's been indirectly reported to us is more serious criminal sexual exploitation."

A Queensland Police spokesman also confirmed to the ABC that some farmers were abusing their right to sign off visa applications by harassing backpackers.   

Travellers who come to Australia on a one-year Working Holiday visa (417)  need to complete at least three months work in regional or rural areas to qualify for a second year.