Date Released: 02 October 2013
At a ceremony in Dublin on Wednesday (2nd October) officiated by the Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn, campaigners will celebrate the introduction of a new law criminalising forced labour (also known as modern-day slavery) in Ireland. At the event, activists will be honoured for their tireless work and commitment to the cause.
As revelations continue to emerge about the appalling use of slave labour on World Cup sites in Qatar, the Irish campaign has highlighted similar cases of modern-day slavery in Ireland in sectors such as agriculture, restaurants and domestic work. To date no one in Ireland has been prosecuted for such abuses. The new law means that modern-day slavery is at last a criminal offence in Ireland, and campaigners hope that this will mean justice for victims in the future.
Mariaam Bhatti, campaign leader, states, “The Migrant Rights Centre Ireland has dealt with almost 200 cases of modern-day slavery in Ireland in the last 6 years. We had to endure inhumane treatment at the hands of our employers, some of us working 80-hour weeks, and often experiencing verbal abuse and physical violence. Until now there was no way for victims like me to get justice. With this law we can now help other victims of modern-day slavery and make sure that what we endured cannot happen to anyone else.”
The Lord Mayor states, “Modern-day slavery is intolerable and this group of courageous migrant workers have tirelessly campaigned to consign slavery to the history books. Tonight we commend their work and their bravery for coming forward.”
John Douglas, President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), said, “This is an important night as it celebrates workers who have taken a stand against injustice. They have put a spotlight on the chronic problem of modern-day slavery. We need now to ensure this law is implemented to the full and victims are protected.”