Terragiusta. Campaign Against the Exploitation of Migrant Workers in Agriculture in Italy

Terragiusta - MEDUPHOTO: The mobile unity of MEDU in Piana di Gioia Tauro (Calabria), Project Terra Giusta, February 2014

The project aims to promote the protection of health and working conditions of migrant workers in the agricultural sector in Italy and to improve knowledge, access and enjoyment of the fundamental rights of migrant workers who benefit from the project, in particular the right to health, and to work legally, against exploitation.

The context

The Italian agricultural sector depends heavily on the presence of migrant workers, often employed in black market and seasonal labor especially during the harvest time (which requires numerous labor force for limited periods of time) and in less skilled jobs. In the South of Italy, the right to health is exposed to the highest level of direct and indirect violations, due to factors such as the lack
of access to drinkable water and adequate food and the systematic failure to comply with rules of occupational safety. Simultaneously multiple violations of rights such as the right to work and to a decent pay, the right of access to housing and the right to health are very frequent. Another central element is the effectiveness of the new legal instrument represented by the Legislative Decree 109 of 16 July 2012 (the so-called “Law Rosarno”) in about a year after its enactment.
According to istat, undeclared work covers 43% of employees in the agricultural sector, amounting to approximately 400,000 people in italy, of which about 100,000, mostly foreigners, are subject to exploitation and forced to live in unsanitary settlements. it is estimated that the wage of an agricultural worker with an irregular contract (black or grey work) and subjected to a “caporale”, is 25-30 euro per day (40% in less than an italian worker) for an average of 10-12 hours per day. the living, working and hygienic conditions of migrants workers put often seriously at risk their health situation.


Actions on the ground

The project intends to intervene in isolated and far from urban centers areas characterized by a strong marginalization.

Health and social situation: After having defined the areas of interventions (following those criteria: the seriousness of the conditions of labor exploitation, with particular attention to the consequences in terms of health protection; criticality of housing conditions, lack of organizations and association dealing with social and legal protection) the project will conduct a monitoring of the main social and health institutions and organizations, identifying the ones which are able to respond to the health needs of migrants employed in agriculture. An investigation on the socio-sanitary and working conditions of migrants will also be carried out, starting from the health care practice.

Legal aid: Lawyers and legal advisers of ASGI and LTPD will lead training activities targeted to the socio-legal workers and local associations on the new legislation (“Law Rosarno”) and will ensure ongoing counseling and legal assistance.


The project

The project’s overall objective is to promote the protection of health and working conditions of migrant workers in the agricultural sector in Italy. The specific objective is to improve the knowledge and the access to the fundamental rights of migrant workers, in particular the right to health, and labour rights against exploitation. The project aims to intervene in remote areas far from urban centers characterized by strong phenomena of marginalization, where are carried out violations of multiple rights such as the right to work and to a decent pay, the right of access to housing and the right to health. The areas of intervention are some Italian regions, including Campania, Calabria, Puglia and Basilicata.

In each of the areas will be carried out an investigation on the socio-sanitary and working conditions of migrants, starting from the health care practice. With a mobile clinic, a Medu team – composed by the project coordinator, a doctor and one or more cultural mediators – will put in actions different activities: to provide first medical care and guidance to the social and legal services active in the area and legal assistance, thanks to the collaboration with two other partner of the project (ASGI – Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione – and LTPD – Legal Clinic, University of Roma Tre). The living conditions – health, work, house facilities – of the migrants workers will be monitored through a detailed questionnaire. ASGI and LTPD will also provide an analysis of the new legal instrument represented by the so-called “Law Rosarno” and, in each territory, will train local socio-legal operators.

A final report will be presented to the public opinion, the media and the institutions. The report will provide a deep analysis of each region of intervention, will describe the impact of the “Legge Rosarno” and will formulate concrete proposal in order to answer to the criticalities identified in each area.


Expected outcomes of the project:

  • Migrant workers with health problems will be properly assisted and receive information on how to access local health services.

  • The operators and migrants who are victims or potential victims of exploited labor will be sufficiently informed of the protection measures offered by the current legislation. A network against the exploitation of migrant workers in agriculture will be created and will continue its activities to protect workers and the activities of information and advocacy towards public opinion and institutions.

  • Public opinion, the competent institutions and policy makers will be informed about relevant social, health and working conditions of the beneficiaries of the project.


For further information please see:

TerraINgiusta [April 9, 2015]
Calabria [December 22, 2014]
Basilicata [November 27, 2014]
Campania [July 20, 2014]
Calabria [March 12, 2014]
ROSARNO [December 2014]
BASILICATA [July-October 2014]
ROSARNO [January-April 2014]
ROSARNO [May 1, 2013]
ROSARNO 2013 [February 2013]
Video: “The story of Mohammed”
Video: “The women from the plain”
Video: “Rosamo and the plain of Gioia Tauro”



Report Terraingiusta


The direct beneficiaries of the project will be the documented and undocumented migrant workers in the agricultural sector, associations, socio-legal operators, lawyers, legal practitioners. The indirect will be civil society, migrants, institutions and farms.

Comune di Rosarno, ASP di Reggio Calabria, Flai-Cgil Piana di Gioia Tauro – Calabria, ARCI Iqbal Masih. Campagna #FilieraSporca (daSud, Terra! Onlus, Terrelibere.org), Zalab, AMIS.

Budget 2014 
118.865,00 €

Fondazione Con il Sud
Fondazione Charlemagne
Open Society Foundations

Fondazione con il sud
Basic CMYK