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Dublin Opinion >>
Slave Tourism in Ireland and UK
rights, freedoms and repression |
Tuesday September 19, 2017 12:06 by Mack MThomais
Legal Modern Day Slavery Ireland - Ireland s latest tourism opportunity
Several foreign based volunteer networks are placing unsuspecting travellers in exploitative and manipulative situations and cashing in on free labour with no rights or security.
Every so often people whom wish to broaden their horizons and experience new cultures will eventually need to travel beyond their hometowns and security of their families and friends. Some go the conventional route and suffer the tourist traps that are practically in every open country in the world not to mention the gruelling itinerary of transport airports and the draconian security measures that must be negotiated along the way. This is the first impression people get of other countries and the cultural experience is often drained by the gauntlet of paranoia that is modern travel.
Some victims of this forlorn industry anxious to recover the adventurous spirit and reclaim the stage from the Philistines that have destroyed the last bastion of freedom which is travel,got together and came up with a unique idea ,volunteering whilst travelling. The principle is to connect travellers with hosts in various countries along a persons chosen travel route and the hosts would accomodate the travellers for a set period of time in return for a willing pair of hands on various projects the hosts were undertaking. The traveller would live with a family and experience first hand the life of various people in their diverse cultures whilst doing some good for the region in assisting the host with a variety of tasks. Sounds great a win ,win for everyone. The online volunteer networks such as HelpX.net Workaway.info and Workers on Organic Farms (WOOF) are examples of these networks whom connect the unsuspecting travellers with hosts for a fee without ever meeting their hosts and with no working hours or conditions agreed to before signing up.
These tasks and work expected are not with official volunteer programmes or not for profits in the main ,but with private individuals and increasingly hostels ,hotels ,restraunts ,farms and other business in Ireland . Many are requesting childcare assistance and help with elderly relatives without any vetting procedure beforehand . These sites are there for anyone to see and there are host opportunities all over Europe and indeed worldwide ,however a quick glance at the host listings available online clearly show that Ireland and the UK have the largest demand and Ireland is by far the worst offender of volunteer requests per population and size. The statistics show that on the Help X site Ireland currently has 1,062 work exchange placements alot of them in private enterprise and small business compared to England at 1077 Wales 202 Scotland 382 and Northern Ireland 65. The travellers whom use these sites are often required to work 8 hours or more without breaks and as they are in a different country have no recourse to relief as they are dependant on their hosts for accomodation and meals if any are provided. The WORKAWAY.info shows a similar trend with the Republic of Ireland and England with the biggest demand for free labour and from their various profiles many are registered business exploiting this free labour.
Travellers leave references of their experiences in reviews and many are not very flattering with many complaints of conditions and treatment with their hosts . How these sites can circumvent our laws and labour rights so blatantly beggars belief and how employers are cashing in on this free labour when there are so many unemployed and homeless is disgraceful. I would also say that these sites started out as a positive and interesting way to travel however there are always people whom will take advantage and many have come to rely on this form of labour as the norm often in violation of law yet the authorities turn a blind eye to the detriment of the traveller many trapped for months in atrocious conditions and exploited for long hours of work for a bed and a -plate of food. It is interesting that the Republic of Ireland is the biggest benefactor and applicant of this type of labour as can be seen from the volunteer websites hosts lists and this is concerning ,as the Irish seem to accept this as normal and shows the social psychological mindset of its people. Maybe the large influx of these modern slaves each year which is very much under the radar is a result of the abandonment of rural Ireland by government or a more sinister result of greed . Researching these websites there seems to be an air of entitlement from some of the hosts whom seem to be making demands of what they want from volunteers rather than promotion through attraction. Whatever the social development emerging from this modern phenomena it certainly raises questions as to how it is being allowed in the name of cultural experience as the reviews from some travellers show distress ,unhappiness and exploitation.
The websites can be viewed by readers for their own perusal at
They include a county by county list of hosts whom are relying on this labour instead of employing locals and most worrying people requesting childcare and elderly care without vetting