Eight people have been arrested after police uncovered exploitation and abuse on farms in Sicily, according to The Guardian.
227 migrant workers were found to be trapped in forced labour conditions.
Legal proceedings are underway against 33 Agricultural companies across Sicily.
Police raided forty farms between the months of April and August and only two of the farms were found to be in order.
The investigators discovered horrific working and living conditions.
The raids were conducted in response to an Observer investigation that unveiled the widespread forced labour and sexual exploitation of Romanian women employed as season Agricultural workers in Ragusa.
Antonino Ciavola, head of the police unit told The Guardian that workers were discovered in shacks with no heating or water available.
“Some of the farm owners we arrested did not even think they were committing crimes.” Mr. Ciavola told The Guardian.
“They saw themselves as benefactors, providing people with work and a roof to sleep under regardless of whether they were then subjecting those workers to exploitation.” Mr. Ciavola added.
The raids were also successful in revealing a network of recruitment from Romania into the greenhouses of Sicily.
Romanian women were found enlisting people in their home communities to sign up as workers for farms based in Ragusa.
Ragusa is one of Italy’s largest vegetable producing regions.
Forced labour and severe labour exploitation
In March of this year, The Observer unveiled that up to 5,000 Romanian women on farms in Ragusa were facing conditions of forced labour and severe labour exploitation.
Many revealed in an array of interviews conducted that they had to work 12-hour days in extreme heat, without living requirements such as water, sanitary conditions and wages.
Many have shared accounts of experiences of routine sexual assault.
Italian officials have said that they are undertaking a number of measures to control the abuse that Romanian workers face.
Italian prosecutors and civil rights activists have responded by saying they believe that these actions are insufficient and thousands of Romanian women and children remain at risk across the region.
Last week, we brought you a story whereby official court documents unveiled that two of the largest food companies in Italy have been implicated with labour abuses of migrant workers.