Behind the ‘ghetto’: the path from exploited migrant labour to the supermarkets’ shelves

A fruit and vegetable market in Italy. Karen/Flickr. (CC 2.0 by)

The #FilieraSporca campaign was established to track the orange supply chain across Italy from the fields to supermarkets’ shelves and investigate migrant’s labour. It calls for ‘cleaning’ the supply chain through tracking and labelling.

A fruit and vegetable market in Italy. Karen/Flickr. (CC 2.0 by)

A fruit and vegetable market in Italy. Karen/Flickr. (CC 2.0 by)

Dozens of inquiries, documentaries, and news reports have told us all about migrant’s labour, i.e. what happens in the fields and the tent cities. These reports often frame exploitation in terms of ‘slave labour’, ‘modern slavery’, and so on. They concentrate on the victimisation of the vulnerable. But what happens behind the ‘ghetto’?

What they don’t talk about very often is the supply chain, i.e. the path that begins in the fields and finishes on the shelves of the supermarkets. The general public doesn’t have a deep understanding of how responsibilities are distributed along this supply chain between multinationals, corporations, large-scale distribution companies, temporary agencies, transport firms, or wholesalers, and they don’t understand the many ways in which workers can be exploited at each link.

This is why, one year ago, the #FilieraSporca (‘dirty supply chain’) campaign was established. Our goal is to trace the whole of the classic orange supply chain in and beyond Italy and thus to make clear who is exploiting who and at which points in Italian agriculture. In order to do so, we have interviewed key stakeholders, including agricultural workers, farmers, experts, trade unions, and sent a questionnaire to large retailers in Italy such as Coop, Conad, Carrefour, Esselunga and Auchan, and also to big corporations such as Coca–Cola.
Read the complete article about exploited migrant’s labour on Open Democracy


Antonello Mangano

È autore di ricerche, inchieste e saggi sui temi delle migrazioni e della lotta alla mafia. Fondatore di “terrelibere.org”, ha scritto i libri "Gli africani salveranno Rosarno" (terrelibere.org 2009), “Gli africani salveranno l’Italia” (Rizzoli 2010), "Voi li chiamate clandestini" (manifestolibri 2010), "Zenobia" (Castelvecchi 2013). Ha collaborato con MicroMega e Repubblica.it. Attualmente scrive per l'Espresso.