British backpacker’s mother writes book about daughter’s life and calls for change

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Devastated mum of British backpacker, 21, stabbed to death in hostel, calls on Australia to end ‘abuse and sexual exploitation’ of farm workers – while exposing brutal reality of ‘cruel’ system

  • Mother of British backpacker who was killed in action writes a book about her life and death
  • Mia Ayliffe was murdered in 2016 by French tourist Smail Ayad at the Queensland hostel
  • Her mother Rosie has devoted her life to improving regulation legislation

The mother of a British backpacker who was brutally stabbed to death in a hostel during her mandatory farm work has written a book calling for an end to the abuse and sexual exploitation of the participants in the system.

Mia Ayliffe, then only 21 years old, was stabbed to death by French tourist Smail Ayad in Home Hill in 2016 after working in a Queensland reed bed to renew her visa.

Rosie, Mia’s mother, has since devoted her life to improving regulations, standards and communication around the government plan to ensure that a similar situation does not reoccur.

Her book, Far from Home, tells her story from the gruesome moment when she found out her daughter had been murdered until she came to Australia and faced the reality of life without her only child.

“I wiped the tears off my MacBook for days,” Mrs. Ayliffe said news.com.au

“It was as tough as I thought it was, but it was unbelievably cathartic and it was part of my journey to recovery in a way I never imagined.”

Mia Ayliffe (pictured), then only 21 years old, was stabbed to death by French tourist Smail Ayad in Home Hill in 2016 after working in a Queensland reed bed to renew her visa

Mia Ayliffe (pictured), then only 21 years old, was stabbed to death by French tourist Smail Ayad in Home Hill in 2016 after working in a Queensland reed bed to renew her visa

Mrs. Ayliffe says the main purpose of the book was a tribute to her daughter and her lasting legacy

Mrs. Ayliffe says the main purpose of the book was a tribute to her daughter and her lasting legacy

Mrs. Ayliffe says the main purpose of the book was a tribute to her daughter and her lasting legacy

Rosie Ayliffe (photo right with Mia left) has since devoted her life to improving regulations, standards and communication around the government plan

Rosie Ayliffe (photo right with Mia left) has since devoted her life to improving regulations, standards and communication around the government plan

Rosie Ayliffe (photo right with Mia left) has since devoted her life to improving regulations, standards and communication around the government plan

Mia lost her life on August 23, 2016 after Ayad allegedly dragged her out of bed just before midnight. He was believed to have an obsession with the young Briton.

Another man, Tom Jackson, was also murdered by Ayad who heroically came to Mia’s aid.

Ayad had dropped legal charges against him after a court ruled that he had an unhealthy mind; instead, he sentenced him to 10 years in a mental institution despite reports from witnesses at the hostel that he called Mia his “wife” and spoke regularly of his sexual attraction to her.

When she came to Australia to return her daughter’s body to England, Rosie Ayliffe was inundated with stories of other foreigners who had suffered their own trauma while working on farms to renew their tourist visas.

‘I now understand that there is a dark side to backpacker culture – that people can be at risk, just like my daughter,’ Ms. Ayliffe told the ABC in 2017.

‘I want to see regulation of the 88 days. I want a central agency that distributes backpackers to certified farms. ‘

Mia lost her life on August 23, 2016 after Ayad (pictured) allegedly dragged her out of bed just before midnight.  He was believed to have an obsession with the young Briton

Mia lost her life on August 23, 2016 after Ayad (pictured) allegedly dragged her out of bed just before midnight.  He was believed to have an obsession with the young Briton

Mia lost her life on August 23, 2016 after Ayad (pictured) allegedly dragged her out of bed just before midnight. He was believed to have an obsession with the young Briton

Mrs. Ayliffe says the main purpose of the book was a tribute to her daughter and her lasting legacy

Mrs. Ayliffe says the main purpose of the book was a tribute to her daughter and her lasting legacy

Mrs. Ayliffe says the main purpose of the book was a tribute to her daughter and her lasting legacy

Another man, Tom Jackson, was also murdered by Ayad who heroically came to the rescue of Mia at the Home Hill Hostel in 2016.

Another man, Tom Jackson, was also murdered by Ayad who heroically came to the rescue of Mia at the Home Hill Hostel in 2016.

Another man, Tom Jackson, was also murdered by Ayad who heroically came to the rescue of Mia at the Home Hill Hostel in 2016.

Australia introduced the Modern Slavery Act in 2018, a legislation aimed at preventing the physical, emotional and sexual abuse of workers, including those of backpackers under a visa requirement on the farm – something Ms Ayliffe has seen in ecstasy.

“It means that my daughter, and the brave man who tried to save her life, did not die in vain,” she told News.

Ms. Ayliffe says the main purpose of the book was a tribute to her daughter and her lasting legacy.

“I want to remember Mia, and our relationship, that was a big part of it, and to express how I feel about her,” she said.

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