14th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
Tulipa, a tomatoe woman in Sicily
In the greenhouses of Italian tomato exporters, female migrant workers are routinely exploited and sexually harassed by their employers. In Vittoria, Sicily, approximately 5,000 Romanian women work as tomato pickers. They migrate for work in Italy to save up and, after some years, return to their homes and families. Among the abuses they endure, women are often coerced to have sex with their employers in order to retain their jobs. They are routinely paid less per day than their male counterparts for the same work. Inside the greenhouses, far into the countryside, often surrounded by walls and barbed wire, Romanian women migrant workers are asked for sex in order to keep their jobs. This practice of coercion has been denounced by trade unions, human rights associations, priests and researchers in Italy. Nonetheless, nothing has changed.
“When I was with my former boss I avoided being alone with him and I didn't respond to his flattery,” says Tulipa. She is 22 years old and shares with her boyfriend Pavel, Nadina and Anton a two-room storehouse with a plastic roof. “I have a daughter who lives in Romania with her grandmother. Bringing the child to the farm is not safe. Life here is not easy. We know that we would deserve more worker rights”.
© Stefania Prandi.
All rights reserved.
||Nov. 29, 2016, 6:12 a.m.