The migrant 'ghetto' of Borgo Mezzanone in 2019 | Photo: Franco Cautillo /ANSA
The migrant 'ghetto' of Borgo Mezzanone in 2019 | Photo: Franco Cautillo /ANSA

Authorities in Italy's southern Puglia region are trying to fight the gangmaster system. They have rebranded the migrant tent camp in the city of Foggia, a 'Citadel of Hospitality' to try and end exploitation.

On February 4, authorities in the southern Puglia region and the city of Foggia announced the construction of a 'Cittadella dell'Accoglienza' (Citadel of hospitality) for foreign seasonal workers. Their objective: To fight the gangmaster system.

The citadel will include the hosting facility for asylum seekers (CARA) in Borgo Mezzanone, which will be renovated, and the area around the center.

Hundreds of migrants have been living in dire conditions for years in an illegal tent camp set up around the hosting center in Borgo Mezzanone.

€3.5 million funding

The project, which will have an estimated cost of €3.5 million, provides for the renovation of the center for asylum seekers in Borgo Mezzanone, near Foggia, and of the area around it.

The 'citadel' will host seasonal workers who are at risk of being exploited by gangmasters, the prefecture of Foggia said on February 4 after a meeting on the issue held on February 1.

Protocol within a month

The protocol of an agreement for the realization of the project should be ready within a month, local authorities said.

It will be signed by the prefecture and province of Foggia, the Puglia region and the state property agency.

The economy ministry's investment and economic development agency Invitalia will be in charge of the tender for the renovation of the area currently hosting the tent camp.

A reported €3.5 million euros have been allocated as part of the institutional development contract (CIS) for the area of Foggia, with a further 150,000 euros pledged by the interior ministry's department for civil liberty and immigration.

Migrants to be transferred during renovation work

Migrants staying in the illegal settlement around the CARA center will be transferred to hosting facilities in Puglia while the project for the citadel is completed.

The Puglia region is also working on a plan to build a guest house in Borgo Mezzanone, in addition to another two residential complexes in Poggio Imperiale and Foggia, local authorities said.


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