Press Centre

Urgent Action Needed to Combat Slavery in Diplomatic Households in Ireland

End Diplomatic Immunity

On European Anti-Trafficking Day (Friday 18th October), Migrant Rights Centre Ireland has called for urgent action to prevent diplomatic households in Ireland trafficking people for forced labour. The Global Slavery Index, released this week, singled out domestic servitude in diplomatic households as an area of major concern for Ireland. Diplomats charged with exploiting workers can claim diplomatic immunity from all prosecution.

Gráinne O’Toole (MRCI) said, “It may seem incredible that people are being trafficked in to be exploited and abused in the Dublin homes of diplomats, but we have seen numerous cases over the past few years.

Just last week, we came across yet another woman who was employed as a domestic worker in a diplomatic household under horrific conditions. We are working to ensure her safety and security, but the State needs to step up now.”

Tina Dio endured domestic servitude in a diplomatic household in Ireland. She explains “I worked all day long for no pay and never had a day off. My employer has not been prosecuted for what he did to me, due to diplomatic immunity; I haven’t even received my unpaid wages.”

Gráinne O’Toole continued, “The State is aware of this problem, but we are concerned with the ongoing delay in dealing with it. The use of diplomatic immunity essentially means that domestic workers in these situations have no rights. These employers are not subject to the laws of the state.”

Migrant Rights Centre Ireland is asking the Government to bring in a range of preventative measures, requiring diplomats to provide all staff with:

• employment contracts

• pay and conditions in line with Irish law

• payment by electronic transfer for traceability

• information on rights and entitlements under Irish law

• regular checks by the National Employment Rights Authority

Gráinne O’Toole concluded “We ask the government to act quickly and bring in the measures as recommend by the recent report by the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA). Diplomats should be treated equally under Irish law, and victims of slavery deserve justice – no matter where they’re employed. ”

18 October 2013

Global Slavery Index (Ireland): http://www.globalslaveryindex.org/country/ireland/

GRETA Report (Ireland): http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/trafficking/Docs/Press_releases/PR_IRL_en.asp

MRCI's work on forced labour: http://www.mrci.ie/our-work/forced-labour-trafficking/