From file: Carabinieri operation against the ‘gangmaster’ system in Catania, Sicily | Photo: ANSA
From file: Carabinieri operation against the ‘gangmaster’ system in Catania, Sicily | Photo: ANSA

Two asylum seekers in Italy have received a special stay permit due to serious labor exploitation, after having been victims of a criminal organization that exploited them as field hands at farms.

Two asylum seekers in Ravenna, in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, received a special stay permit due to serious labor exploitation, after having been victims of a criminal organization that exploited them as field hands at farms in the provinces of Forlì-Cesena, Rimini and Ravenna.

The Ravenna police department issued a "special stay permit due to serious labor exploitation to two laborers, migrant asylum seekers, who were removed from a situation of exploitation by a criminal organization that is currently on trial, thanks to joint labor union and institutional action," said the Italian labour union CGIL Emilia-Romagna.

The union expressed satisfaction "for this result and for the initiative in the field, which must always continue so that vulnerable laborers can be removed from the yoke of new exploiters and criminal networks that violate rights and human dignity."

Case began last April

The case began last April, when Forlì police arrested four Pakistani citizens, who are now on trial. They are charged with recruiting compatriots in reception centers, promising them work and housing, only to then exploit them as farm laborers in the provinces of Forlì-Cesena, Rimini and Ravenna.

With the pandemic underway, the Ravenna FLAI CGIL labor union took action, since the rural house where they were residing was in Bagnara in the province of Ravenna.

"The labor union and the City of Bagnara immediately contacted law enforcement and activated social services to give the labourers food and disinfect the places they lived," CGIL said. "We are talking about more than 20 workers, mainly Pakistani and Afghan, both stay-permit holders as well as asylum seekers," it said.

After investigations called for by the Emilia-Romagna region, which directed the City of Ravenna's immigration service towards the situation, "it was possible to admit two workers via the project 'Beyond the Street,' an integrated system of socio-health interventions in the fields of prostitution, serious labor exploitation and human trafficking. The two workers then received a "special stay permit for serious exploitation."

 

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