The institutions are destroying all proof of their slavery and are planning the deportation of more than 1,500 immigrants.
EveryOne Group: "They have fled from countries with humanitarian crises underway and fallen into the hands of the Mafia here in Italy, like thousands of other refugees". They must be offered protection and the hope of a dignified future. At midday on January 11th, 2009 the Italian Government began the deportations by emptying the Crotone centre.
About 1,500 immigrants (with more on the way)*, have been arrested and sent to the Bari and Crotone centres, some in possession of residence permits or political asylum (6 or 7% of the total), many others are "clandestini" ("illegal") though originating from countries where humanitarian crises are underway: 94%of them are from sub-Saharian countries, all of them young (87% of them are under 30). 90% of them have entered Italy illegally. None of them has a regular work permit, They are all kept in a state of slavery, working for a notorious Mafia family that dictates law in Rosario.
They work from 12-14 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. Their basic wage is 2 euros a hour. Basic because out of this money they have to pay for their meals (onion soup with bread) and living quarters (squalid unhealthy huts, with 4-5 beds in them).
Despite these huts being evidence of the immigrants? persecution, the authorities have thought fit to immediately bulldoze them and destroy all the evidence. EveryOne Group is convinced that in the case of Rosario there is a precise xenophobic strategy and policy by the Italian Government being led by the anti-immigrant and anti-European party, the Northern League, which has a total of four ministers in the government, including the important role of Interior Minister.
EveryOne believes the destruction of the proof of the conditions of slavery and abuse (a situation the authorities were well aware of, and tolerated), the arrest of over 1,500 immigrants and the plan to deport them (avoiding the control of the UN High Commissioner) to their countries of origin, is an attempt to cancel all trace of the serious violations being carried out by the ?Ndrangehta?s illegal hiring of farm labourers for very low wages through an agent (and by the Italian authorities and institutions themselves, who right from the start tried to pass responsibility for the protests to the migrants in order to avoid raising the greater problem of organized crime).
We believe the immigrants arrested and sent to Crotone, Capo Rizzuto, Bari and other centres must be heard by the High Commissioner and offered protection, for two reasons: one because they have fled from countries with humanitarian disasters, and two, because they have been the victims of slavery and serious abuse on Italian territory, where they have fallen into the hands of the Calabrian Mafia - despite the institutions and authorities on all levels being perfectly aware of what was happening in Rosario. This can be seen from the revolt (described as an "anti-mafia" revolt by the Italian press) which took place over a year ago**.
In the South of Italy, but also in central and northern Italy, immigrants without residence permits fall into the hands of the various Mafias (?Ndrangheta, Cosa Nostra and the Camorra). If last year the conditions of slavery were serious (as seen in numerous cases, like the tragic incidents in Castelvolurno'), now, after the approval of racial law 94/2009'*, known as the "security package" (the subject of many reports and appeals made by our group to every national and international court due to its antidemocratic, racist and inhumane contents) the situation has now become dramatic.
This is because the "clandestini" are no longer able to settle their position by finding jobs and homes, and they are forced to survive using all means possible. Many of them are entitled to political asylum or international protection seeing they have fled from countries where humanitarian tragedies are underway.
* A summary of recent events: http://ilquotidianodellacalabria.ilsole24ore.com/
** The protests of the Africans against the Mafia in 2008: http://www.carta.org
' The Castelvolturno case: http://www.carta.org
This article was published first on 12. Jan 2009 by :: everyonegroup.com