Action follows Observer investigation into claims of forced labour and sexual exploitation among Romanian migrant women employed as agricultural workers

Eight arrests have been made and legal proceedings launched against 33 farming companies across Sicily, after a series of raids found 227 migrant workers trapped in forced labour conditions.

Police carried out raids on 40 farms between April and August in response to an Observer investigation that revealed the widespread forced labour and sexual exploitation of Romanian women employed as seasonal agricultural workers in Ragusa, one of Italy’s largest vegetable producing regions. Only two of the farms were found to be operating properly, according to Antonio Ciavola, head of the police unit. He said he was shocked by the conditions in which people – including a number of Romanian women – were being forced to live and work.

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