Following a sustained mobilization by the IUF’s agro-food affiliates, tough new legislation to eliminate human trafficking in agriculture has been ratified by Italy’s Parliament and came into effect on November 4. According to FLAI-CGIL, Italy has now established in law, for the first time, the crime of worker exploitation.
The law provides for prison terms of up to 6 years for any persons engaged in recruiting or employing workers under illegal and exploitative conditions, increasing to 8 years if threats or violence are involved, and fines of up to EUR 2,000 per worker. Courts are empowered to order mandatory arrest, assume legal control of an enterprise if there is a continued likelihood of illegal recruitment/employment offenses, monitor compliance with relevant legislation and collective agreements and regularize employees working without legitimate contracts. In the event of conviction, confiscation of the means of trafficking as well as the products and profits which are the result of trafficking in workers also becomes mandatory.
The new law also amends the 2014 law on Quality Work in Agriculture to assist migrant workers and incentivize adherence to collective agreements.