Forced Labour

Prohibition on Forced and Compulsory Labour

The main legislation in Ireland on Forced Labour is Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 and its further amendment in 2013. The Act(s) prohibit sexual and labour exploitation among other exploitative practices. Labour exploitation is
(a) subjecting the person to forced labour (including forcing him or her to beg);
(b) forcing the person to render services to another person; or
(c) enslavement of the person or subjecting him or her to servitude or a similar condition or state.
The forced labour provisions are equally applicable to children. Forced labour means “a work or service which is exacted from a person under the menace of any penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily. The Acts prescribe long imprisonment terms and fine at the discretion of court for trafficking a person to exploit his/her labour.
Section 23 of the Employment Permits Act 2006 makes it an offence for employers to retain workers’ passports, identity papers, qualification documents, driving licences or to make deductions from their wages to pay recruitment fees, travelling expenses or other fees related to obtaining a job in Ireland.

Freedom to Change Jobs and Right to Quit

There is no provision in Irish Legislature which restrict the workers to change or quit job. If a worker decides to terminate the employment he/she may resign by giving notice to the employer as specified in the employee’s contract of employment.

(Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Act 1973 S.4-8)

Regulations on Forced Labour

  • Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008, amended in 2013