The Italian minister for agriculture Teresa Bellanova said an inter-ministerial plan will be presented in January to fight labor exploitation in the agriculture sector. She said it would include a platform allowing business owners to find the workers with the desired qualifications.
The Italian ministries of agriculture, labor and the interior have joined forces to create an inter-ministerial plan to fight labor exploitation in the agriculture sector, known as caporalato.
In an interview on Saturday with RAI Radio 1, Italian Agriculture Minister Teresa Bellanova said the plan will be presented in January and will include "a platform where business owners can find the workers they need, with the necessary qualifications, when they need them."
"We have to take away from gangmasters the essential tool that makes them an indispensable supplier of services," Bellanova said. She said the first problem to solve is that of the "intersection of supply and demand." Gangmasters are criminal recruiters who control and exploit workers.
"Currently, conventional public and private partners are not able to offer this service. Gangmasters are more efficient," Bellanova added.
Solutions for transport and housing
Solving transport and housing problems were also important, Bellanova said. "An essential method the gangmaster has is that of taking farmworkers directly to the worksite," the minister said.
"We are calling on the regions to work together with the ministries to adopt transport plans to ensure the freedom of the business," she said. In regards to housing, Bellanova said she received phone calls every day from businesses asking for a "legal flow of manpower from abroad to harvest their products."
"We have to move from the phase in which we use them as workers to one in which we take them into consideration and respect them as citizens," Bellanova said.