The Italian finance police have uncovered a case of labor exploitation in the southern region of Calabria, where non-European farm workers were paid one euro per crate of tangerines picked. The discovery was made as part of an operation to counter Italy's notorious gang-master system.
The discovery was made as part of an operation to counter Italy's notorious gang-master system. One person was arrested and a further seven were reported as a result. Migrants intercepted in a lorry The operation began after finance police stopped a lorry in Roseto Capo Spulico in the province of Cosenza for a routine inspection. The lorry was found to be carrying 10 non-EU nationals and driven by an Italian. Investigations showed that the migrants were being taken to pick fruit on two farms in neighbouring Basilicata for a meagre wage.
A phenomenon that kills
Farm-labour exploitation of migrants in Italy came under the spotlight at the end of January after one woman died and another was seriously injured when a fire broke out at a camp hosting illegal agricultural workers in San Ferdinando in the province of Reggio Calabria.
Some 200 improvised dwellings were also destroyed in the blaze, forcing the migrants to sleep in the open. Just a few weeks earlier the organisation Doctors for Human Rights, which has operated a mobile clinic in the area for years, denounced the terrible conditions in which thousands of migrant farm hands are forced to live and work. "80% of the migrants are working illegally," the organisation said. "Though 90% have a regular permit of stay they find themselves doing piecework or working on a daily basis without a contract or pay slip and with rates of pay that are below the minimum wage."