Tech & Rights

Exploitation, Overcrowding at Italian Reception Centers for Migrants

Immigrant reception centers in the south of Italy are run as profitable businesses that house residents in substandard conditions and deny wages, finds a new report from an Italian human rights group.

by Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights
Photo: Dave Collier - Flickr/CC content

When it comes to immigration, the line between reception and exploitation can be a fine one.

That was the case in Calabria, in the south of Italy, where two reception centers were found to exploit the migrants they were supposedly giving shelter and work to.

Formerly centers for asylum seekers who arrived during the Mare Nostrum initiative, these are now reception centers for immigrants, managed by cooperatives that promise the residents a wage of 10 euros per day to maintain green areas.

Activists from the Italian NGO LasciateCIEntrare (a CILD associate) visited these two centers and shared the results of their field research with La Repubblica newspaper: 300 immigrants, including minors, lived in inhumane conditions in centers that were designed for a capacity of 80 people.

From La Repubblica:

"The centers have the obligation to guarantee core standards of care, such as access to essential health and social services under the same standard applied to Italian minors, free legal assistance, access to basic education, the right to receive information about their status, the possibility to interact in a common language through the assistance of a cultural mediator, and, most of all, protection from every kind of abandonment, abuse, violence and exploitation."

Not one of these standards is guaranteed, LasciateCIEntrare claims, and the promised wages have not been provided for several months.

This situation is yet another example of migrant detention being seen as a profitable business by those who manage these centers – a business that only creates more desperation for the migrants involved.

“Migrants reception? They have no more than walls and camping beds. After all, who's going to check?” concluded LasciateCIEntrare's activists.

For further details, please read the full report (in Italian) by LasciateCIEntrare.