Last week, Franca Di Lecce, Professor of the Human Rights course invited Jean Rene Bilongo, Migrant Affairs Officer of FLAI (The Agro-Food Labour Union) to conduct a lecture on human trafficking entitled “Trafficking in Human Beings, Slavery Shadows in Todays’ Italy Agriculture”.
It was impressive to listen to J.R Bilongo who thoroughly knows what exploitation of migrants means, because he was himself an agricultural migrant labourer during his first years in southern Italy. He then decided to take a different path: He joined the Migration Office Department to defend the rights of migrants.
The lecture focuses on the tomato production in particular where there have been a growing migrant force working in the informal economy characterized by little government regulation, and a lack of labour standards. Agriculture is in fact a sector in which the migrants are often, denied the most basic human rights.
J.R Bilongo works closely with migrant rights organizations and unions to protect, empower and promote migrant workers in origin and destination countries in order to end labour exploitation.