‘Slavery exists in Ireland today’ - construction and sex workers trafficked to Australia
Official reports of Irish trafficking were underreported in Ireland until now
A new book recently released in Cork unearthed new data which claims there are at least six people at anytime who are being trafficked for sex in Cork City, and that there are countless others who are being trafficked in Australia for work.
The Cork Independent reports on the new book 'Open Secrets: An Irish Perspective on Trafficking & Witchcraft' authored by David Lohan and Dr Jennifer DeWan. The book was officially launched in Cork this week with the support of Cois Tine, a Cork based immigrant support group. On hand at the launch were both the mayors of Cork City and County Cork.
Through research, David Lohan discovered and brought to light what he calls “startling” data from the Trafficking in Persons Report which is issued annually by the US Department of State.
“The most startling aspect of this report is the fact that it went completely unreported on this side of the world even though it happened over three years ago,” said Lohan of the 2009 Report.
“The sad thing about researching this book is that there is endless information about human trafficking out there and sometimes people don't realize the extent of it."’
Lohan is referring to the 2009 Trafficking in Person Report which found that "some men and women from ... Ireland are fraudulently recruited to work temporarily in Australia, but subsequently are subjected to conditions of forced labour, including confiscation of travel documents, confinement and threats of serious harm."
The 2009 data shows for the first time definitively that there is a “deliberate exploitation of Irish workers.”
In 2008, a construction company in Perth, Australia was slapped with the largest fine ever for violations of the Workplace Relations Act with at a total of AUD$174,000. They were charged for “the deliberate exploitation of Filipino and Irish migrant workers.”
While the exact number of Irish workers who were embroiled in the case was not reported, it is known that they were all on 457 visas. “They were not entitled to move between employers and they were presented with undated work agreements while being denied the required documents outlining their rights,” reports the Cork Independent.
At the time of the case, Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans welcomed the fine and warned that the exploitation of workers would not be tolerated by his Government.
"Slavery exists in Ireland today because the reality is that there is a demand. Irish people are willing to use, abuse and exploit their fellow human beings for economic benefit or their own gratification."
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