Gangmastering: exploitation of 100 workers, seven probed

Farm worth 7.5 mn euros seized in Milan area

26 August, 09:00

    (ANSA) - MILAN, 26 AGO - Italian authorities seized a farm in the Milan area after having ascertained "systematic illegal farm labour exploitation involving about 100 non-EU workers". A total of seven people are under investigation.

    MILAN - Finance police seized a farm worth 7.5 million euros in Cassina de' Pecchi, in the province of Milan, as part of an investigation into illegal gangmastering in the Martesana area.

    The order was carried out by finance police from the Gorgonzola station, who ascertained "systematic illegal farm labour exploitation involving about 100 non-EU workers". Seven people are under investigation for the crime of illegal intermediation and labour exploitation: two administrators, two overseers, two administrative employees, and the farm's consultant, who managed the payroll.

    Labourers forced to work 9h shifts at 4.50 euros per hour The investigation, coordinated by the Milan Court, revealed "anomalies in the hiring and compensation of the farm's employees" and "serious and persistent violations of laws that govern the employment of farm labourers". The labourers were forced to work nine-hour shifts at a rate of 4.50 euros per hour. They were also harassed on the job, through continuous surveillance by shift managers and the violation of anti-Covid-19 regulations on social distancing in order to speed up the harvest. In addition, the labourers were under the constant threat of being fired.

    A "slaver" framework The "slaver" framework unveiled by the finance police also included the hiring practice of a two-day unpaid trial period, in which the employers weren't required to hire labourers and thus took advantage of free labour. At the end of the investigation, the prosecutor's office ordered a seizure of the farm and all its assets, which include 53 properties consisting of land and buildings, 25 vehicles, and three bank accounts. The court assigned a judicial administrator to allow the farm's activities to continue.

    PHOTO: In a freeze frame from a video shot by the Gorgonzola finance police, in the province of Milan, officers carry out a seizure of assets worth 7.5 million euros as part of an investigation into illegal gangmastering in the Martesana area, Cassina de Pecchi, 24 August 2020. ANSA (ANSA).

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