Further action urged on exploitation of undocumented migrants

Further action urged on exploitation of undocumented migrants

The Government of Ireland has been urged to take further action to protect undocumented migrants from labour exploitation.

A spokesperson for the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) said the government had “failed to take co-ordinated and effective action” against labour exploitation practices which were thrown into a spotlight by a Guardian investigation.

A year-long investigation by the newspaper purported to turn up evidence of migrant workers in the Irish fishing industry being subjected to illegal practices and being paid less than the minimum wage.

The Department of Justice earlier confirmed that An Garda Síochána would lead an inter-agency project addressing potential human trafficking in the maritime sector.

However, Gráinne O’Toole, MRCI workplace rights co-ordinator, said: “The situation of undocumented migrant fishermen in Ireland is intolerable. The government have failed to take co-ordinated and effective action to address the exploitation and forced labour faced by this group of extremely vulnerable workers.

“The government needs to protect fishermen and put in place a employment permit which would enable fishermen to work in compliance with Irish employment law and in receipt of their rights and entitlements.”

Ms O’Toole also called on the Workplace Relations Commission’s inspection and enforcement service to “assist workers in recouping wages and other entitlements owed to them in accordance with Irish employment law”.

She added: “Cases of human trafficking in the industry need to be investigated by An Garda Síochána and it is paramount that victims of human trafficking are protected and their rights upheld.”

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