(MENAFN - Morocco Business News) The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has found that a large number of Moroccans are living in conditions close to slavery in Italy.
According to a 10-day study prepared by an IOM team in the town of San Nicola Varco, one hundred kilometres south of Naples, showed that over 1000 Moroccans "are being exploited by unscrupulous employers who pay them between 15 and 25 Euros a day to work in the nearby greenhouses and fields."
"The salaries are well below the minimum. It is a kind of slavery," Flavio Di Giacomo, spokesman for the IOM in Italy, told Reuters. He stressed that it is a humanitarian emergency because they are living in conditions that are unsustainable.
These young Moroccans, who are lured into Italy but then abandoned without work or legal documents, are living in abandoned buildings, eking out a living amid piles of rubbish, without running water or electricity.
"Our team discovered that most of the migrants have fallen victim to a fraud," underlined Peter Schatzer, IOM's Chief of Mission in Italy, adding that "All came to Italy through the seasonal quota system established every year by the Italian government."
But Schatzer explained that "they paid a fee to a rogue agent in their country of origin and to an Italian employer, who promised to give them a regular job. Once in Italy, the migrants found that their employer had disappeared or just refused to employ them. Without a legal work permit, many fell into exploitation."
The IOM team, made up of four legal officers and two cultural mediators, interviewed more than 200 migrants, who described their dire living conditions and miseries.
They told these researchers that, besides being low paid, they have to pay employers for such services as "water and 3 euros each time they go from the encampment to the fields, where they toil from 4:30 am till 4:00 pm."
These illegal migrants' "living and working conditions are unsafe, insalubrious and undignified," underlined the IOM's Schatzer.
He added that this assessment was commissioned by the Italian Ministry of Interior in order to identify solutions for these desperate migrants living in this region.
"We are working with our Italian counterparts to see if the migrants could benefit from assistance and protection in Italy," Schatzer pointed out.
According to the IOM, illegal labour, especially in the agricultural sector, is a widespread phenomenon in Italy, with official statistics showing that it accounts for between 15.9% and 17.6% of the country's gross domestic product.