Raped, beaten, exploited: the 21st-century slavery propping up Sicilian farming | Global development | The Guardian

An Italian migrant rights organisation, the Proxyma Association, estimates that more than half of all Romanian women working in the greenhouses are forced into sexual relations with their employers. Almost all of them work in conditions of forced labour and severe exploitation.Police say they believe that up to 7,500 women, the majority of whom are Romanian, are living in slavery on farms across the region. Guido Volpe, a commander in the carabinieri military police in Sicily, told the Observer that Ragusa was the centre of exploitation on the island.“These women are working as slaves in the fields and we know they are blackmailed to have sex with the owners of the farms or greenhouses because of their psychological subjugation,” he says. “It is not easy to investigate or stop this from happening, as the women are mostly too afraid to speak out.”Many of the Romanian women leave children and dependent families at home and feel forced into making the desperate choices that have carved deep lines of grief into Bolos’s face.“Where I come from in Romanian Moldavia, nobody has a job,” says Bolos, as she nurses her five-month-old daughter in a dark warehouse that is now her home on another farm in Ragusa province. “The average salary there is €200 a month. Here you can make much more, even if you need to suffer.”

Source: Raped, beaten, exploited: the 21st-century slavery propping up Sicilian farming | Global development | The Guardian