Food slaves

Ecostorm investigations into the exploitation and abuse of migrant workers during southern Italy’s annual orange and tomato harvests generated widespread revulsion and much international interest in these under-reported issues when they first published.

The first of our hard-hitting reports documented the plight of African migrants scratching a living in Basilicata’s tomato fields, revealing how farmers operate with apparent impunity when employing migrants for poverty wages; the squalid living conditions many workers are forced to endure; and how major UK retailers profit from the suffering.

The second in our series revealed the links between Coca Cola and the use of migrant workers in Rosarno’s orange harvest prompting an outcry in Italy and putting the issue firmly on the map.

Ecostorm has produced numerous other reports into exploitation in the food supply chain since these first stories broke, many of them contributing to the Who is picking our food? series produced by our partners at The Ecologist. Further films are currently in production.


Banner photo: courtesy Alessandro Penso. Alessandro, based in Rome, is a photojournalist who has spent many months documenting migrant communities in Europe. His footage and photos  illustrated our initial “tomato slaves” investigation.