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Labour Exploitation

IOM is committed to preventing and fighting modern slavery and migrants’ labor exploitation by promoting fair recruitment practices and ensuring decent work conditions for all workers without discriminations. Over last 10 years Italy has witnessed a significant increase in cases of migrants’ labor exploitation and marginalization, including forms of forced labor. Italian agriculture and food industry is among the economic sectors mostly exposed to the risks of irregular work, together with the construction, catering, and domestic services sectors. According to the latest data collected by the Federation of Agro-Industrial Workers (FLAI), out of 430.000 irregular workers in the Italian agriculture, over 100.000 are victims of “Caporalato” and severe forms of labor exploitation, and thousands are often forced to live in the so-called “ghettos", slums and informal settlements without electricity, running water or sewerage system. Their vulnerable conditions and the lack of alternative integration opportunities at local level make migrant workers easy prey for unscrupulous employers and intermediaries who force them into an informal system of irregular work and exploitation, which immediately become their only form of income.   In this context, IOM priorities include several interventions along three strategic lines, including the technical support and capacity building of institutions at national and local level, the engagement of private sector actors - businesses and employers - against unfair recruitment a treatment of foreign workers, and the direct assistance of migrants at risk of exploitation. Under this umbrella, IOM is committed to:  

  • Supporting national and local authorities to coordinate and harmonize initiatives against unfair recruitment and labor exploitation  
  • Enhancing the capacities of national institutions to conduct high quality coordinated labor inspections with the support of qualified cultural mediators  
  • Encouraging active labor market measures aimed at facilitating the access to the labor market and employment services 
  • Promoting capacity-building and awareness-raising actions for public and private actors on the overall positive effects derived from the integration of migrants in the local labor market 
  • Identifying victims and potential victims of labor exploitation through outreach activities in the workplace, ghettos, and the main points of aggregation of migrants  
  • Strengthening vulnerable migrant workers’ awareness of labor rights and fair recruitment mechanisms available at the local and national level  
  • Encouraging the use of individual integration paths in favor of victims and potential victims of labor exploitation to facilitate their integration process  
  • Enhancing more transparent and more accessible information on the recognition of foreign qualifications and titles  
  • Reinforcing a stronger co-operation between public employment services, private sector and social partners, to facilitate the matching process between migrants’ skills and local demand 
  • Strengthening the participation of businesses into due diligence processes and support the development of corporate social responsibility strategies against exploitative practices 

Within this framework IOM is implementing the following projects:

A.L.T. Caporalato! -  Interventions for regular and safe employment in Italy

SU.PR.EME - Southern Italy against migrants' labour exploitation and marginalization