Migrants paid 3 EUR/hr for 11-hr shifts in vineyards

Exploited by 4 Moroccans, beaten and forced to work even injured

12 February, 16:40

    PADUA - Thirteen migrants were exploited by their fellow Moroccan nationals, paid three euros an hour for 11-hour days in Italian vineyards to prune vines and pick grapes, an investigation by carabinieri in northern Italy discovered.

    The inquiry was conducted in Venice, Padua, and Rovigo and led to four Moroccan nationals being put under house arrest. The four are charged with setting up a criminal association for labour exploitation.

    The investigation found that the migrants - many of whom did not have proper working papers - were employed in the vineyards without any sort of protective equipment or insurance. They were de facto ''ghost'' presences in the local wine production sector. Their exploiters offered extremely low rates for harvesting to 6 Italian landowners, who the carabinieri have now placed under investigation. Turnover for the company run by the Moroccans under house arrest totalled 350,000 euros per year. The migrants were involved in harvesting vegetables as well but were mostly used for the grape harvest in the Bassa Padovana area.

    They were forced to work 11-hour shifts without time to rest or eat. Those who rebelled were beaten. Some were taken to the emergency room afterwards and others, after workplace accidents, were forced to return to work despite limbs in casts and bruises. The foreign workers were afraid to report their employers as they did not have proper working papers. Those that reported them have now received proper stay permits as part of the "Nave" project in Venice, an association that offers support to foreigners and undocumented migrants.

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