It's only been 17 years since the Vatican gave up slavery
They literally had Irish women enslaved to do laundry and such. The women were stripped of their names and called "Maggies." If the women escaped, the Irish police (The Gardai) would hunt them down and bring them back to the Church slaveowners.
The system was shut down in 1996.
The church took in wayward girls, unmarried women, women who had been shamed. Officials in the Church lied to parents and to some local authorities, claiming the kids were being taken away to get a good education, when really they were forced to work and received no schooling at all.
Over 74 years, 30,000 women were put to work in de facto detention, mostly in laundries run by nuns. At least 988 of the women who were buried in laundry grounds are thought to have spent most of their lives inside the institutions.
McAleese and his co-authors said they hoped the report would bring "healing and peace of mind to all concerned, most especially the women whose experience of the Magdalene Laundries had a profound and enduring negative effect on their lives".
"The majority of women who engaged with the committee spoke of the hurt they felt due to loss of freedom. They were not informed why they were there, they had no information on when they could leave and were denied contact with the outside world," said the report, adding that the Garda "brought women to the laundries on a more ad hoc or informal basis".
. . .
Established in 1922, some Magdalene laundries operated as late as 1996. Half of the women incarcerated in these institutions, which washed clothes and linen from major hotel groups and even the Irish armed forces, were under the age of 23.
. . .
"I was 12 years of age and my father had died, my mother had remarried and my home situation was abusive.
"They told me I would have a great education and I went off to New Ross from my primary school, actually in a laundry van. When I arrived there they took my books from me that my mother had bought. That was the last I saw of them; that was the last time I had a decent education. From then on it was laundry every day, where it was horrible, where you were not allowed to talk to anyone. All it was there in the laundry was work, work, work.