Farmworkers protest treatment in Italy after migrant deaths

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Farmworkers protest treatment in Italy after migrant deaths
African migrant workers stage a march to protest against their work conditions, following the death of 16 of their colleagues in two separate road accidents, near Foggia, Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018. Several hundred of tomatoes fruit pickers marched from the shanty town of San Severo to Foggia as an Italian labor union called for a national strike to raise awareness over the extremely poor working and housing conditions of immigrant farm workers in Italy. (Franco Cautillo/ANSA via AP)

ROME (AP) — Hundreds of crop pickers and labor union activists have marched from a shanty town in southern Italy to protest what they say is the exploitation of migrant farmworkers.

The march from the shanty town of San Severo to the city of Foggia was organized after 16 farmworkers died in separate road accidents.

The protesters held signs reading “Never Slaves” and waved union flags.

Participating workers said there is no running water or electricity in the shanty town. Activists say crop pickers must pay to be taken in overcrowded vans to fields and orchards.

The farmworkers who were killed on Saturday and Monday were riding in vans that collided with trucks. Prosecutors are investigating if the vans safe.

Most of the crop pickers who work in Italy’s verdant Puglia region are foreigners.