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outside one of the rooms and a torrent of foul language was coming from inside. We
banged on the door and told them to "Open Up". When nothing happened, I unlocked
the door and threw it open.
We were confronted by a woman I recognised as a local prostitute. She pushed
past us and fled, leaving a fully-dressed young man on the bed. He was making a
heap of noise and appeared to be hopelessly drunk. We did our best to calm him but
without success. In the end I called the police and the guy was taken away.
I thought that was the end of the matter but it wasn't. The next day the young man
reappeared claiming I had robbed him of hundreds of dollars. He was in a hysterical
state and I had no doubt he believed what he was saying . Inevitably, the police were
Days passed and the young man's mother became involved. With her help, we
were able to piece together what had happened . It seems her son was a shy lad who
had just finished work on a farming property out west. He arrived in town with his
pockets bulging with money and went into a bar where he met some new chums.
They spiked his drink and amused themselves at his expense. Their final act was to
accompany him back to his hostel room, finding a prostitute on the way. When Sean
disturbed them, they fled with the young man's money.
8 Jobs on trawlers
One day a glossy poster landed in the hostel letterbox. It arrived in a cardboard
cylinder with a note asking me to display it in the female toilets. This sort of
request generally referred to sexually transmitted diseases and came from the
Department of Health. On this occasion, it was from the Department of
I wasn't totally surprised. As a former government officer, I knew that government
departments are forever muscling in on one another's territory. Communicable
diseases are transported and that was probably how the transport people got in on the
act. I unfurled the poster and found that my suspicions were unjustified.
A banner headline yelled at me from above a picture of a young woman cowering on
the deck of a boat.
No one will come to your aid !
Other words spelt out the horror of her situation.
It was a warning about jobs on trawlers.