Dienstag, 5. November 2013

Exploitation and neglect in the Trapani region

If you want a good idea of how the government manages immigration, just take a trip to the province of Trapani. As we have often said and reported, Trapani is the experimental laboratory in which the government tests out firsthand its policies towards migrants (since the Serraino Vulpitta).
As well as the Milo CIE and the Salinagrande CARA, migrants also dwell in gyms, tented cities, and in abandoned buildings in the countryside, where hundreds are left vulnerable to exploitation. Migrants runaway from the Milo CIE on almost a daily basis, and riots and protests are commonplace due to the complete lack of assistance available since the Prefecture pulled the plug on the consortium Oasis' management contract.

At the Salinagrande CARA the situation balances precariously between inmates, law enforcement, and operators who find themselves in increasingly difficult working conditions, as the Prefecture continues to fill a centre which should accommodate only 260 migrants (when in fact it contains more than 400).
On top of this, the municipal transport company of Trapani has decided to cease running the only bus route which passes the centre, because "the migrants don't pay for the ticket". The Prefecture won't commit itself to providing the service.

In such a stressful and constrained environment, migrants easily lose their temper for trivial reasons and quarrels amongst inmates in the CARA have multiplied significantly in recent months.
This situation is the result of neglect and the inability to make a thought-out migration plan, and so as in 2011, we have an EMERGENCY!!

And, as we know, when we have an emergency the government can act more freely, approving operation 'Mare Nostrum' and a new reception plan.

What would you expect? Do you remember 2011?

The plan envisages the filling (to exhaustion) of all the existing centres, and the creation of a number of new centres, which will all also be packed full. And the Prefecture of Trapani, as did the Civil Protection in 2011, has put out a call for new reception centres, €30 for each migrant.

A state of affairs, which as before, has seen many throw themselves forward in the hope of making a bit of money. So many hotels convert themselves into shelters, and abandoned buildings get rented by various consortia in order to make centres for migrants.

Whoever lands on the shores of Sicily will be sorted and put into a CARA, a CIE, a gym, or one of these new centres.

And those who do not arrive in Italy via Lampedusa? Another problem, because those who arrive in Italy by "land", who present themselves directly to the police headquarters asking for asylum (because they do not have the possibility to continue their journey, for any number of reasons), are forced to live in abandoned buildings close to the centres, or in tent cities in the Sicilian countryside, since the centres themselves are overflowing.

After Alcamo and Marsala (if we focus on the province of Trapani), tent cities flourish in Campobello di Mazara (as we have seen for the last 5 years), where the olive harvest is about to finish, and where more than 600 migrants have moved in hope of making some money, in the hope of having a chance, in the hope of realising a dream. But how much does it cost?

A great deal. As last month a Senegalese man lost his life to burn injuries after the explosion of a camp stove.

With the end of the harvest, in these following days many will leave and will move to Catania for the orange harvest, which will create a new tent city, where exploitation will continue, where the bosses will continue to humiliate the unfortunate, where landowners will take advantage of the blindness of our politicians and the neglect of institutions.

But for many of us, it suits us not to see or hear the screams of pain, so we can continue to pay less at the supermarket for "our local" oil, or, our Sicilian oranges, the grapes of Marsala and Alcamo, the potatoes of Cassibile, or the tomatoes of Pachino. Perhaps the institutions do not intervene because maintaining this economy, now in complete disarray, is dependent on this migrant labour force?
Posterity will judge, but for some of us it is important to understand where these cheap products come from, so we can begin to make some ethical choices, making our consumer choices critical and supportive.

Borderline Sicilia Onlus/Alberto Biondo

Translation by Sally Jane Hole