Migrants and Gangmasters: A video story on migration and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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Today, the Faces of Migration project is launching a video story on migrants and gangmasters in the agricultural sector. It is a true story on a dramatic phenomenon that is affecting poor workers and migrants exploited by gangmasters in agricultural fields in many European countries.

This video is being launched on the occasion of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, which is taking place in Ecuador and focusing on the topic of rural transformation. Migrants are protagonists of rural transformation. They could be positive actors for enhancing local productions improving the well being of local communities. But many times, they are exploited and part of a system that is impoverishing rural contexts.

The video focuses on the Italian case: about 450,000 poor workers are exploited in the agricultural sector. 130,000 live in quasi slavery conditions. 80% of them are migrants. They are victims of a production system where the economic power is concentrated in few hands. It is linked also to agro-mafia interests, generating 25 billion Euro revenue per year. The system is unfair and criminal.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 8 and 12) call for decent work and sustainable consumption and production models. If we want to achieve the SDGs, the European Union and its Member States should implement agricultural, labour and migration policies that protect labourers and support small agricultural producers in getting fair prices in respect to big organised distribution companies.

Migrants should be protected as well. While development cooperation policies should sustain small producers in third countries especially in Africa and Asia, trade policies should not subsidize exports that are squeezing local producers creating the expulsion of labourers and migrations. Migration is also a result of investments that lead to land grabbing.

European citizens and civil society organisation should raise their voices to combat this system of quasi slavery, while adopting responsible consumer habits that do not reward unfair food and goods systems.

The Faces of Migration project will produce a series of videos on the stories of migrants related to the SDGs. This is the first. Stay in touch with the project to see the next stories!

The “Faces of Migration” project is co-financed by the European Union. The contents are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.