Project

Modern Day Slavery in Italy

Sidat Touray (Sid) didn't realise his younger brother had been living a lie until after he received a phone call telling him that he was dead. Embarking to the quiet town of Foggia to retrieve the body, Sid discovered something devastating. His brother, Musa, had not been living comfortably in Italy like he had always believed. He was in fact a slave, toiling on the tomato farms in the south of Italy.

Musa, along with the other victims of the crash, was travelling to work in the early hours of the morning when the van lost control and crashed into a nearby lorry; images of a white van flipped upon a crushed roof sent shockwaves around the country. The incident dredged up an uncomfortable fact. The 12 dead, nameless men of African descent were part of an organised system of modern slavery.

This is a longform investigative piece that reveals the true extent to which migrants trafficked from North Africa have been enslaved in Italian agriculture. Sid’s story of discovering his brother’s true circumstances is reflective of the reality thousands of migrants face when they finally arrive in Italy.

To some, perhaps the concept of slavery still harkens back to arcane images of whips and chains, of black bodies forcibly removed from their homes and placed on a ship to a place where greater misery awaits. But in the modern era, slavery exists in various forms and has become more nuanced in its execution. This project aims to showcase how slavery continues to prevail in spaces unexpected and unseen.

Are Your Tinned Tomatoes Picked by Slave Labor?

The Italian mafia makes millions by exploiting migrants. In the Italian south, the lives of foreign agricultural laborers are so cheap that many NGOs have described their conditions as a modern form of slavery.