Trafficked People Abused in Ireland's Fishing Industry

fishing boat
file photo: Irish fishing vessel

By MarEx 2015-11-02 17:47:07

After a year-long investigation, the Guardian has revealed that African and Asian migrant workers are being abused on Irish fishing trawlers.

The vessels involved are reportedly working out of some of the country’s most popular tourist ports including Cork and Galway. The Guardian reports some of the men on board have suffered physical and mental abuse and sleep deprivation as a result of very long work hours. They have also been denied shore leave, having to hide when the vessel comes to port, and have been paid less than half the minimum Irish wage. 

Some migrant workers claim to have been deceived and appear to have been trafficked on to trawlers specifically for labor exploitation. Agents and vessel owners appear to be using a loophole designed for international merchant shipping, which allows non-E.U. seafarers to transit through the U.K. for up to 48 hours if they immediately move on to join vessels working in international waters, reports the Guardian. 

The majority of Ireland’s high value prawn and fish catch is exported to supermarkets, restaurants and fish markets across Europe, the Americas and the Far East.

The Guardian story, including video and first-hand accounts is available here.