The Belt and Road Initiative中国网 | 中文繁體 | 中文简体

At least 12 migrant laborers dead in crash in Italy

At least 12 migrant farm laborers died and three were injured on Monday when the van they were traveling in overturned on a road near the city of Foggia in Italy's southern Puglia region, firefighters and local media reported.

"12 dead and three wounded," firefighters tweeted, along with a photo of the twisted wreckage of the van.

RAI News 24 public broadcaster showed ambulances and a fire truck at the crash site on a two-lane rural road, adding that the victims were all migrant laborers.

Day laborers are often bused to and from the fields by gangmasters, who recruit them off the streets and offer them work picking fruit and produce for a few euros an hour.

CGIL trade union tweeted a photo of the overturned van, saying: "We don't need (migrant) refoulements and forced repatriations, we need lawfulness and application of the norms. We demand justice for all the exploited and invisible laborers."

The incident follows on a deadly crash Saturday also in Foggia province, in which four African day laborers aged in their early 20s died and another four were seriously injured on their way home from work when a truck carrying tomatoes crashed into the van they were traveling on.

Such fatalities "show how the dramatic and degrading working conditions, non-existent public transportation and the mobility of workers handed over to gangmasters ... endanger the lives and security of so many laborers, who are at work in the fields in this season," Flai-CGIL union said in a statement.

In response to the deadly crashes, Italy's "big three" trade unions -- CGIL, CISL and UIL -- have called for a demonstration to be held Wednesday in Foggia to demand workplace safety and an end to the practice of gangmastering, or the practice of exploiting labor in near-slavery conditions.

In July, police in Puglia arrested a woman and two men on charges of forming a criminal gang that exploited grape and cherry pickers. The woman recruited the day laborers, also Italian nationals, who were bused to the farm, where they were paid 2.50 euros an hour to work up to 13 hours in the fields, picking grapes and cherries.

The Italian government in October 2016 passed a law criminalizing the practice of gangmastering, which is now punishable with up to six years in prison, according to the Official Gazette.

Source: Xinhua  Editor:Lucky

(Source_title:At least 12 migrant laborers dead in crash in Italy)