Italy: Indian migrant workers struggle against exploitation & abusive conditions in food & farming sector

Author: Daniela Sala & Marco Valle (The Guardian), Published on: 8 January 2018

"'An employer? No, we have a master': the Sikhs secretly exploited in Italy", 22 Dec 2017

...[I]n a country where justice moves at a glacial pace, abused migrant workers have scant incentive to come forward...

According to labour unions and community leaders, Italy’s largely hidden community of Sikh migrant workers [...] are increasingly vulnerable to exploitation and intimidation in some of Italy’s biggest food-producing regions.

Corruption and organised crime extend their tentacles throughout Italy’s food and farming sector, making an estimated €21.8bn (£19.3bn) in illegal profits from this area alone in 2016... [M]any workers rely on unofficial gangmasters to find jobs... They are expected to work for far less than the official minimum wage...

Since... 2016, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of workers who [...] report their employers to the authorities... Yet the initial momentum has slowed, he says, partly because of the drawn-out pace of the Italian legal system, which is dissuading others from reporting their employers. 

In October 2016, the Italian parliament passed a new law designed to deter gangmasters from recruiting and controlling seasonal workers. Police controls in the area increased, yet the police admit they are not making sufficient progress.

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