How a restaurant owner couple kept female tourist as a slave

How a restaurant owner couple kept female tourist as a slave

High-flying restaurant owner couple who kept a female tourist as a slave in their home for three years offer her $70,000 as they face 10 years in jail

  • Sheila and Joshua McAleer lured a woman from Philippines to Australia in 2013
  • Woman, who can’t be named, was kept as a house slave for three years in Sydney
  • She was also required to work at couple’s restaurant, where she wasn’t paid
  • Woman escaped in 2016, the McAleer’s are now facing 10 years behind bars 

A successful restaurant owner couple who kept a female tourist as a slave have offered her $70,000 in compensation as they both face a decade behind bars.  

Sheila and Joshua McAleer lured the woman, who can’t be named, to Australia in 2013 to work in their family home and multiple businesses in Sydney’s south.

Soon after her arrival, Mrs McAleer was said to have organised a passport and three-month tourist visa for the woman, which meant the Filipino tourist was unable to work elsewhere.

The victim had left her home in the Philippines for a chance at a better life, but instead was forced to work as a virtual slave at the couple’s home in Rockdale where she cared for their children for hours on end.

Sheila and Joshua McAleer (pictured) lured a woman from the Philippines to Australia in 2013 to work in the family home and multiple businesses in Sydney’s south

A few weeks after the woman arrived, Sheila McAleer (pictured) organised a passport and three-month tourist visa, which meant the Filipino tourist was unable to work elsewhere

Soon after moving in, the McAleers allegedly told the tourist she owed them a debt she needed to repay after she had a medical procedure at Sutherland Hospital, in Sydney’s south.

The victim also worked many hours at their Filipino restaurant, often unpaid, and she was always supervised. 

The woman finally escaped from her living nightmare in 2016 and moved in with a friend.

While the woman was ‘on the run’ from the McAleer’s, the cruel couple hired a private detective in a bid to track down her whereabouts.

They also previously told the frightened woman they knew police who could ‘harm her’ as well as her family back home.

In a victim impact statement heard in court, the woman labelled Sheila McAleer a ‘cruel’ person.

‘I felt like a slave but didn’t say anything,’ she said. ‘I had no power to change my situation,’ she said, according to 9 News.

Sheila and Joshua McAleer have both pleaded guilty to several offences, including harbouring an unlawful non-citizen and making a false statement for health benefits.

They will be sentenced in June and face a maximum of 10 years behind bars.

Sheila (pictured left) and Joshua McAleer have both pleaded guilty to several offences, including harbouring an unlawful non-citizen and making a false statement for health benefits

The Kapamilya Grocery Store in Rockdale, in Sydney’s south, is owned by the McAleer’s (stock image)

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