Operation by the carabinieri in Calabria, March 2019. PHOTO/ANSA
Operation by the carabinieri in Calabria, March 2019. PHOTO/ANSA

An operation by police in southern Italy has led to the arrest of three people and parole for two others. Those under investigation had been found to have exploited two Romanians and one Malian over the past two years on two farms, paying them almost nothing. The inquiry found that the two female Romanian farm workers had also been raped.

An investigation in Reggio Calabria in southern Italy has found migrant farm workers exploited to the point of slavery, psychologically abused, and in some cases raped. The inquiry, under the Palmi prosecutor general's office, was called ''Dominus'' and led to the arrest of three people and parole for two others. 


A married couple, aged 65 and 61, was arrested and an 82-year-old man was put under house arrest by Palmi carabinieri. On parole are a 37-year-old man and a 75-year-old woman.

Investigation started after farm worker's report 

The investigation began after a police report was made in September 2017 by a Romanian farm worker at the Sant'Eufemia d'Aspromonte carabinieri station. The Romanian woman described the harsh exploitation she had been subjected to by her employers, saying that at times she was forced to work as many as 14 hours a day, including on Sundays, for one euro per hour and as late as 10 PM. The migrants were hosted in makeshift, unhealthy and unhygienic lodgings. 

Female farm workers raped 

The investigation found two alleged cases of rape suffered by two of the women farm workers at the hands of two of the suspects. There was also an attempt to bribe carabinieri inspecting the farm by the married couple now under arrest by downplaying their responsibility and offering the soldiers dairy products. The offer was refused by the carabinieri. 

Another significant aspect of the inquiry is that a shotgun was found on the property of the couple as well as three pistols of different calibers - all of which held illegally - as well as ammunition and a sum of money in cash totalling over 30,000 euros. 
 

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