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Behind Closed Doors

By Maryam Iraj

As reported by Sarah Fergusen in Four Corners, diplomats in their often-lavish compounds in Canberra enjoy a privileged status – wealth, political influence and the protection of diplomatic immunity which puts them beyond the reach of Australian courts.

ABC Four Corners just did an expose’ on exploitation of domestic workers in embassies and slave like working conditions these workers suffer from.

The 43-minute program started with 17 minute coverage of current Pakistani High Commissioner to Australia Mrs. Naela Chohan who kept a domestic worker at her home in Canberra for 18 months without pay in utterly craven conditions.

Mr. Shaheed Mahmood was made to work for 18 hours a day. He was not paid any salary for 18 months and instead his parents were paid PKR 10k per week in lump-sum payments every few months in Pakistan.

Mr. Shaheed Mahmood escaped with the help of another Pakistani Security Guard and was later helped by Legal Aid Australia and Salvation Army Australia.

He was granted an Australian Permanent Residence designed for victims of human trafficker, slave labours and workers exposed to slave-like conditions, in September 2017.

Current Pakistani High Commissioner to Australia,Mrs Naela Chohan, however still enjoys diplomatic immunity and, despite of all allegations against her, remains out of reach of the Australian Courts.

P.S.: Behind Closed Doors, reported by Louise Milligan and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 12th February at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 13th February at 1.00pm and Wednesday 14th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEDT, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.

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