Campaign History

The Campaign to Criminalise Forced Labour

Campaigners celebrate with TDs

Campaigners celebrate with TDs

Due to the tireless efforts of the Forced Labour Action Group (FLAG), a group made up of migrant activists and our many allies, we secured a change in the law - a crucial amendment to the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 which now allows for forced labour to be prosecuted in Ireland.

This campaign was set up to respond to the need to tackle the chronic abuse and exploitation of workers that MRCI was witnessing. Such cases involve people working every day for long hours for little or no pay, being threatened by their employers, their passports being withheld, living in virtual imprisonment and in fear. FLAG developed a briefing paper with the Irish Congress for Trade Unions (ICTU) on the problem and urgently-needed solutions. We presented this paper to policy makers and legislators. We performed street theatre, staged protests and undertook media work. We also held solidarity meetings with the Trade Union Movement and met with the International Labour Organisation, Irish governmental officials and politicians to inform and lobby for the necessary changes. Our efforts were rewarded when the law criminalising forced labour was passed unanimously by the Dáil on June 28th 2013.

Watch workers' campaign journey here: