LATINA – How, through debt, a network of intermediaries linking India to the Pontine countryside keeps thousands of Indian workers under blackmail, exploited in one of the largest fruit and vegetable districts in Europe.
When Jobandeep took his life in mid-2020, Italian media drew their attention once again on a community of 20,000 Sikhs working in unbearable conditions in the fields of Latina, one hour South from Rome. But what media labeled as yet another case of a migrant exploited, was in fact a victim of trafficking, trapped by a criminal network of travel agents, middlemen, complicit community leaders and corrupted officials operating between Punjab (India) and Italy.
In the village where Joban grew up, half of the young people want to leave. The other half has already left. They are part of a new trend of young people from lower classes who would risk everything to travel abroad. But behind the dream of a better life abroad, there is a whole hidden truth. Debts, a network of travel agents and complicit employers, trap thousands of people under exploitation in the countries of destination, like Italy, where a controversial migration law creates the condition for visa illicit intermediation to thrive. As a result, a community of 13,000 Punjabi migrants in Latina province – one hour South from Rome – work in slavery like condition to harvest vegetables that are sold all over Europe.
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