Rome, Apr.27 (ANI): Mafia handlers in southern Italy treated their African farm workers a little better than slaves, sparking off widespread riots, a police investigation into the violence four months ago has found. ccording to The Telegraph, the clashes that took place between black agricultural labourers and groups of white Italians in the town of Rosarno over a period of four months, were fuelled by years of exploitation of the immigrants, rather than racial tensions.
Police arrested more than 30 people and seized farms and other property worth nine million pounds at the culmination of an investigation into the violence in the southern region of Calabria in January, in which 53 people were injured.
Most of those arrested, on charges of mafia association and labour law violations, were Italians suspected of having links to organized crime.
The farm workers, who were mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, received no more than 25 euros (22 pounds) for working up to 14 hour days in the orchards and market gardens that surround the town, located on the toe of Italy's boot-shaped peninsula.
After arriving in Italy from Africa, often without the proper papers, the immigrants were exploited by local mafia gangs, who hired them out to farmers.
The labourers had to pay between six and 10 euros of their daily wages to their "agents".
If they tried to go to the authorities, they were threatened with violence, police said.
In the wake of the violence, hundreds of African men were evacuated from the area under police escort and taken to migrant centers, but many have since drifted back to their old jobs. (ANI)