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Thursday 1 June 2023 Dublin: 11°C
Leah Farrell/Photocall Ireland Maria from Brazil outside the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in March
# Au Pairs
Domestic workers are the most exploited group in Ireland
A new report from the EU has singled out childcare and domestic cleaners as the most exploited in Ireland.

SINN FÉIN MEP Lynn Boylan has called for changes to be made to the way that domestic workers are treated in Ireland is run, following the publication of a report by EU body, the Fundamental Rights Agency.

The report identifies individuals working within domestic households as the worse exploited group in Ireland.

In one case study included in the report, exploitation of a Nigerian girl working as an au pair for a family in Ireland is highlighted.

The girl was prohibited from contacting her family or anyone else outside of the house she was staying in. Her movement was restricted and her employer threatened to have her sent back to Nigeria when she complained about it.

report childcare ireland European Agency for Fundamental Rights European Agency for Fundamental Rights

Speaking about the findings, Boylan described the report as “uncomfortable reading” in that it reflects previous reports from the Migrant Rights Centre in Ireland.

“There is no official recognition of au pairs in Ireland. This leaves young migrant women vulnerable to exploitation and it could also leave families open to breaking employment regulations,” she said.

The exploitation is often not addressed due to the isolated nature of a domestic worker’s workplace.

She went on to call for the government to provide clarity on the employment status of au pairs in Ireland.

Why do workers not report these issues?

As part of the report, reasons that this exploitation goes unreported are also looked at.

The main reason that victims fail to come forward to the authorities is a fear of being sent out of the country. This is followed by not being aware of their rights, fear of retaliation against their family members and not believing that speaking to the authorities would be worthwhile.

table of not reporting things European Agency for Fundamental Rights European Agency for Fundamental Rights

It was also found that even when exploited workers brought their cases forward and were successful in being awarded compensation, it was difficult to make their previous employers make the payments.

Read: Expensive childcare is leading to an increase in underpaid au pairs in Ireland

Also: Rising rental costs are making people share rooms with strangers

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