Exploited migrant farm worker left to die at side of the road

Exploited migrant farm worker left to die at side of the road

  • Published on
    June 20, 2024
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  • Category:
    Forced Labor
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An Indian farm worker, Satnam Singh, died after his employer left him on the side of the road following an accident that severed his arm. Singh, 31, who migrated to Italy three years prior with his wife, was injured while working on machinery on a farm in Latina, a city near Rome known for exploiting migrant workers. His wife found him outside their home with his arm severed. The BBC reports that an air ambulance rushed him to San Camillo Forlanini Hospital in Rome, but he died of his injuries on Wednesday.

“A true act of barbarity”

Latina is notorious for exploiting migrant laborers, according to Laura Hardeep Kaur, general secretary of the Frosinone-Latina unit of the Flai Cgil union. Singh was working for €5 an hour without a legal work contract. Kaur called the incident a case of “barbaric exploitation,” adding that “foreign laborers continue to be invisible, at the mercy of ferocious bosses.”

When the accident occurred, Singh had been operating a plastic roller wrapping machine attached to a tractor. The Italian employer is under investigation for manslaughter, violating workplace safety regulations, and failing to provide aid.

Kaur states,

“Adding to the horror of the accident is the fact that, instead of being rescued, the Indian farm worker was dumped near his home. He was left on the road like a bag of rags, like a sack of rubbish … despite his wife begging [the employer] to take him to hospital. Here we are not only faced with a serious workplace accident, which in itself is already alarming, we are faced with barbaric exploitation. Enough now.”

Italy’s labor minister, Marina Calderone, condemned the act as a “true act of barbarity” and hoped for punishment for those responsible. Agriculture minister Francesco Lollobrigida said the government is committed to fighting labor exploitation. The center-left Democratic Party (PD) called the incident a “defeat for civilization” and urged the government to eliminate “agro-mafias” that exploit migrant laborers.

It’s time to act!

Labor exploitation is exacerbated by the disproportionate power held by employers over their workers. Singh worked for meagre pay without a legal contract, rendering him vulnerable to exploitation and danger.

Migrants are not inherently vulnerable to exploitation or human trafficking. Rather, it is unsafe policies that restrict their rights, protections, and movement that increase their vulnerability and, henceforth, their exploitability.

The Freedom United community is urging governments worldwide, including Italy, to enact and enforce laws and policies that protect migrants from modern slavery risks and other exploitative situations.

Join us today! Sign the petition and stand up for freedom.

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