SOLIDAR MEMBERS ON THE FOREFRONT TO STOP THE EXPLOITATION OF MIGRANT WORKERS IN THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR
16th March 2017
Very diffused all over Italy and in particular in the Southern regions is the phenomenon of ‘caporalato’, a system of labour exploitation in the agricultural sector managed by gang masters – very often connected to mafia clans – who employ farm workers in a situation of total lack of contractual protection, from very exploitative to slavery-like conditions and indecent housing arrangements. Because of their precarious status and desperate need to make an income, irregular migrants are among the favorite victims of these unscrupulous exploiters. More than 100.000 people are estimated to be exploited workers in the agricultural sector in Italy – including not only third country migrants but also local workers and South-Eastern European citizens – for a ‘black economy’ business of around 5 billion euros a year (data CGIL FLAI).
After many years of campaigning and civic initiatives run by trade unions, migrant workers associations and civil society – among which on the forefront SOLIDAR members CGIL, ARCI and AUSER – in October 2016 the Italian Parliament has finally approved a law imposing tougher sanctions on the exploiters and ensuring higher protection for the victims.
Not only SOLIDAR members have always been active to raise awareness on this phenomenon, denouncing cases of exploitation and promoting the approval of a national law to eradicate the problem, but they are also active in programmes and activities to support migrant workers, provide healthcare and social services to people regardless of their status, cultural mediation and legal counselling.