Exploitation of South Asian international students to be heard at Surrey, B.C. forum

Click to play video: 'Surrey forum focuses on discrimination and exploitation faced by B.C.’s international students'
Surrey forum focuses on discrimination and exploitation faced by B.C.’s international students
A forum in Surrey Thursday night will tackle an issue faced by the hundreds of thousands of international students face every day: discrimination and exploitation. Jennifer Palma reports – Jan 19, 2023

A community forum is being held Thursday in Surrey, B.C. to host a discussion centred around struggles that South Asian international students face in the province.

The forum is organized by 5X Press, a South Asian youth culture magazine.

Jeevan Sangha, 5X Press’ editor-in-chief says the event will cover a myriad of different topics and concerns.

“We’ve been hearing in community circles, and anecdotally for a long time, about the struggles international students face,” Sangha told Global News.

“One of the biggest issues that we’ve seen is that a lot of the exploitation is happening by the hands of our own community — established community members and business owners who are perpetuating cycles of exploitation against international students.”

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Exploitation against international students can take many different forms, Sangha said.

“We are seeing landlord exploitation, workplace exploitation and wage theft, and increased reports of sexual exploitation from women identifying international students,” she said.

“A lot of this has to do with power imbalances. When international students come to Canada for the first time, they are trusting members of their own community and it gives power to these community members, who have been here for generations, that they can exploit.”

The forum is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Decibel Warehouse unit 106 and will have a panel of speakers including Manvir Bhangu. Gurkirat Sangh Nijjar and Balhit Lally.

Jeevan Sangha will be the moderator.

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Other issues the panel is hoping to shine a light on are mental health struggles and drug use.

“There are so many different intersecting issues related to this topic, but we want to shine a light on it,” Sangha said.

“We want to bring as many different issues into the conversation.”

Tickets are almost sold out but Sangha said they will be live-streaming the event and to visit 5X Press’ Instagram page for more information.

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