A police inspection in a field in Sicily where foreign workers were being exploited | PHOTO: Archive/ANSA/Ufficio Stampa Polizia di Ragusa (Press Office Ragusa Police, Sicily)
A police inspection in a field in Sicily where foreign workers were being exploited | PHOTO: Archive/ANSA/Ufficio Stampa Polizia di Ragusa (Press Office Ragusa Police, Sicily)

Carabinieri police say that 108 people have been arrested in 2019 so far for exploitative labor practices, that's double the number in 2018. Over 3,000 workers were found to have been subjected to exploitation in between 2018 and 2019.

Some 108 people have been arrested this year for exploitative labor practices, compared with 56 in 2018. In 2017, only 31 were arrested for the same crime. 

These are some of the data released on Thursday as part of the presentation of the results of activities targeting this crime by a Carabinieri task force.

There were an additional 592 people reported for the crime between 2018 and 2019. This number is significantly higher than the 156 seen between 2015 and 2017. 

'Over 3,000 exploited including 344 Italians' 

Over 3,000 workers were found to be victims of labor exploitation in 2018 and 2019, said the special Carabinieri task force investigating this crime. They noted that come 344 Italians had been subjected to labor exploitation in addition to foreigners, including over 600 Romanians, about 500 Pakistanis, about 300 Chinese, and about 200 each of Moroccan and Bengali nationals. 

The task force checked up on those carrying out work not reported to the tax authorities. Between 2018 and 2019 about 96,000 workers were checked, with 30% of them found to be working 'under-the-table' or not in line with regulations.

About 48% of irregular workers were found in southern regions, 21% in central Italy, 19% in northwestern Italy, and 13% in north-eastern Italy. 

Effective planning pays off 

"Over the past two years, our work has been effective due to preventative planning. We joined forces and a plan was drawn up within the Labor Protection and Health Protection units, assisted by information that we received from territorial units. We have now checked almost 800 firms," General Adelmo Lusi, head of the Health Protection unit, said during a press conference.

Among those taking part in the press conference were Health Minister Roberto Speranza and Undersecretary at the Labor Ministry Francesca Puglisi, who underscored her "heartfelt thanks for the efforts to protect workers. This is very important and substantial. Exploitative labor practices hit Italians too, and in other sectors such as services, not just in agriculture," she said.
 

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