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Sweatshop workers near Naples 'being held in slavery'

Passports seized, forced to work all week at three euros an hour

03 February, 18:32
Sweatshop workers near Naples 'being held in slavery' (ANSA) - Naples, February 3 - Sweatshop workers from Bangladesh working in textile factories in the town of Sant'Antimo near Naples have petitioned to be recognized as de facto slaves in a bid to escape their employers, activists said Monday.

Hundreds of Bangladeshis, some of them undocumented migrants, told activists in a church meeting on Sunday that their employers seize their passports, then force them to work upwards of 12 hours a day, seven days a week, for three euros an hour.

''We will report their Italian and Bangladeshi employers for slavery, and ask that all the signatories to the petition be granted residency permits on humanitarian grounds'', Italian immigrants-rights NGO February 3 Association (A3F) said in a statement.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) in 1930 defined slavery as ''forced or compulsory labor, meaning work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily''.