Guinness's dirty laundry
For years Guinness benefited from slave labor through a secret Catholic Church system, the Magdalene Laundry.
Tell Guinness: It's time the Magdalene Laundry girls finally got justice!
For 74 years, the Irish government and the Catholic Church imprisoned as many as 30,000 women as young as nine in slave labor camps known as the Magdalene Laundries, locking them up for years for learning disabilities or crimes as petty as not paying a train ticket.
The last of these abhorrent “laundries” only closed in 1996 -- and for part of that history, Guinness Beer used that slave labor to fatten its profits.
Subject to physical and sexual abuse, those who tried to get away were locked in asylums before being carted back by local police. None of those forced to work knew when or if they would get out -- and those who were released, after years in bondage, lived in constant fear of being sent back.
While survivors fight for retroactive compensation and health and housing services from the government and the Catholic Church, Guinness Global has done nothing to make amends for its own part in the Laundries.
As a staple of Irish culture and business, Guinness can help wipe this stain from Ireland’s past by helping these women have a better future.
Guinness needs to issue an official apology for its role in the Magdalene Laundries, and pledge to work with the government to start a compensation fund for the survivors and their families.
But if we want to capture people's attention and effectively pressure Guinness, we need to do it while the Magdalene Laundries are getting attention in the press over the government's official apology.
Thanks for standing up for regular folks,
Melanie, Claiborne and the rest of us
Catholic Church enslaved 30,000 Irish women as forced unpaid labor in Magdalene Laundries until 1996, AmericaBlog, 6 Feb 2013
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