Four people were arrested Sunday in the town of Foggia in southern Italy for exploiting migrant labor: three were entrepreneurs in the sector and one was a Gambian 'gangmaster'.
The latest operation against labor exploitation in southern Italy resulted in the arrest of four people in Foggia on Sunday. It targeted two farms which both have an annual turnover of around a million euros.
The farmhands were forced to pay 30 euros every month to live in crowded roulettes and dilapidated containers, with access to old, foul-smelling bathrooms, while working up to 13 hours per day for 3-5 euros per hour.
Three of the four individuals arrested were entrepreneurs in the sector and the forth was a Gambian 'gangmaster'.
Charges include illicit intermediation and labor exploitation as well as the use of clandestine manpower.
Two of those arrested were the brothers Aldo and Domenico G., owners of a farm on the outskirts of Foggia. The two had already been placed under house arrest last year.
Investigators say that the two brothers continued their activities despite the farm having been officially seized for legal reasons. The preliminary investigative judge thus ordered them both to be put in jail.
The carabinieri found five foreign workers without stay permits on their farm and others that had been employed under false names.
The other farm was known as ''Bisceglia Battista'', a firm with several operating sites in San Giovanni Rotondo near Foggia. The owner, Battista B., 45, has been placed under house arrest while the Gambian national Ali C., 26, has been jailed.
Ali C., has been charged with recruited manpower in several migrant ghettos of the area with the help of other foreigners.
Crackdown on under-the-table work
The farms under Battista B. have been seized. Carabinieri said that the workers that had been illegally employed would now have to be legally employed.
Head prosecutor Ludovico Vaccaro underscored the commitment to "fighting against under-the-table work", noting that "this aims to foster a legal economy and to eliminate unfair competition that the companies complying with the law find themselves having to deal with."
Last year, he noted, a group to fight labor exploitation was set up in the Foggia prosecutor's office.