MRCI first met Thoya a few years ago. She was a teenager when she was trafficked to Ireland for forced labour. For 3 years Thoya worked as a domestic worker in a private home under slave like conditions. Her work began at 5:30 a.m. and finished around midnight. Some days she worked until 2:00 am. During this work she was forbidden to leave her employers home. They controlled her actions, here movements and even her communication with her family. She received no payment during this time. Eventually, a visitor to the house noticed she was in distress and contacted MRCI. MRCI took action to rescue her and liaised with the Gardaí to ensure Thoya was placed in safe accommodation.
Today, Thoya is studying community development. She joined MRCI’s Domestic Workers Action Group which advocates for rights, dignity, and recognition of workers employed in private homes. Through her participation in this group she gained control over her life and began to build confidence. Through training provided by MRCI she became a spokesperson for the campaign to introduce legislation to outlaw Slavery in Ireland.
Sami came to MRCI’s resource centre for help. He was undocumented, homeless and working fourteen hour shifts for a fraction of the minimum wage. Sami became undocumented because his employer refused to renew his work permit, leaving Sami vulnerable, immobile and separated from family. MRCI helped Sami leave this exploitative workplace and to regularize his status. Sami got involved in the work of MRCI and joined MRCI’s ‘Bridging Visa Campaign’, which advocated for those who became undocumented through no fault of their own. A scheme was introduced in 2009 to respond to this group of people and MRCI assisted over 400 migrants to be regularized through it.
Sami has become a leader in the Bangladeshi community and within MRCI. In 2009, Dublin’s Lord Mayor awarded Sami the ‘unsung hero’ award for his dedication to human rights work. Today, Sami is a Chef and MRCI assisted him to reunite with his family. Last year, he became an Irish citizen and continues to help migrants.
Analiza, a young Indian woman, came to Ireland to work as a live-in child minder for a family in Dublin. Forbidden to leave the house or speak to others and forced to work daily without holidays or rest breaks, Analiza was exploited. She was paid €50 per month and at times went hungry because her employers denied her food. Analiza reached breaking point when she was beaten. Fearing for her safety, she escaped by jumping out of her bedroom window. She was brought to the Gardai by a concerned woman and referred to MRCI. MRCI accessed safe accommodation for her, filed a case against her employers, assisted with her immigration status and work permit. Analiza joined MRCI’s Domestic Workers Action Group – a group of migrant domestic workers calling for improved conditions for women employed in private homes.
In 2011, MRCI staff travelled to Galway to celebrate Analiza’s wedding. Analiza asked MRCI to speak on behalf of her family, who were unable to attend due to restrictive immigration policies. Recently, Analiza completed studies in childcare FETAC levels 5 and 6. Today, she is happily employed in a crèche and recently had her first child. MRCI and Analiza continue to work together to help vulnerable migrant workers across Ireland.