Press Centre

NEW REPORT IDENTIFIES TRAFFICKING OF MIGRANT WORKERS FOR FORCED LABOUR AND EXPLOITATION AS A PROBLEM IN IRELAND

PRESS RELEASE: 20 February 2007

Migrant Rights Centre Ireland is today launching a report that identifies the existence of trafficking for forced labour in Ireland.  Siobhan O’Donoghue, Director of the Centre, said “if we are serious about tackling this problem the State must take action to protect victims.  Protection for victims must include provision of safe accommodation, access to social protection, and above all allowing them to remain in Ireland with a secure residency status.  Anything less that such basic protections being put in place will fail to address this growing phenomenon”.

The report looks at how people can find themselves trafficked into a situation of forced labour, where they can be subjected to physical and mental abuse, are deceived about their working conditions, are not free to leave, live under constant threat and fear and are heavily indebted.   It presents a number of case studies that highlight the complex dynamics involved which can result in a person being trafficked and finding they have lost control over their situation.

Launching the report, Simon Coveney TD MEP welcomed the publication, saying, "human trafficking is a modern day form of slavery and is a global phenomenon.  Ireland is no exception and this report draws attention to this fact.  The first step is acknowledging its existence; a second crucial step is for the full range of stakeholders including employment enforcement agencies, frontline service providers and NGOs, to collaborate and develop effective responses.’

Ronnie Munck of DCU who partnered MRCI in the research echoed the call for joined-up thinking and approaches in tackling trafficking for forced labour.   He also supported the MRCI’s call for the introduction of a Bridging Visa to enable victims of trafficking to remain inIrelandand seek support and redress.  Without this, said Ms O’ Donoghue, “the government will not be effective in its attempts to eradicate trafficking for forced labour”.

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