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Monday, August 24, 2009

IOM: Moroccan migrants say they are being exploited in Italy

By Lisa Schlein

The International Organization for Migration says about 1,000 Moroccan migrants who came to Italy with the promise of seasonal work, are living in squalid conditions on abandoned farms. IOM says the migrants were lured to Italy with false promises of employment.

The International Organization for Migration says the Moroccan men are living in abandoned structures in San Nicola Varco, a town about 100 kilometres south of Naples, with no running water or electricity.

IOM Spokesman Jean-Philippe Chauzy says the migrants were duped into coming to Italy by recruiting agents in Morocco, who promised them regular seasonal labour contracts once they arrived.

"So, they actually left Morocco mostly it seems with tourist visas," he said. "The idea was, once they would get to Italy with a proper work contract, they would be able to regularize their stay. The issue here is that false promises were made; it seems, in Morocco by intermediaries, rogue intermediaries. And, when they got to Italy, the employers did not materialize, or refused to give a contract. So, those migrants found themselves in a very difficult situation, and, eventually, most of them became irregular migrants."

Chauzy says, without proper papers, migrants said they were being exploited by unscrupulous employers who paid them 15 to 25 Euros a day to work 12 hours in nearby greenhouses and fields, but charged them for services, such as water, and three Euros each day for transport to the fields.

Chauzy says the agency is now working with the Italian authorities to provide assistance or help returning home.

Illegal labour is a widespread problem in Italy, especially in the agricultural sector. Official statistics show the informal sector accounts for nearly 18 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

Source: VOA news.com

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