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The migrant workers trapped in slave-like conditions in Greece

June 23, 2013 | By Amélie Poinssot

In April this year, the supervisors of a strawberry farm in Greece opened fire on a group of immigrant workers who had demanded to be paid their salaries which had been withheld for six months. The shooting left 33 Bangladeshi workers wounded (picture), eight of them seriously hurt. It also revealed the dire conditions in which thousands of immigrant workers live in Greece, underpaid and often undeclared, with little or no possibility of escaping their exploitation in intensive farming businesses. Charalambos Kassimis is a professor and research director of rural sociology with the Athens University of Agriculture. In this interview with Amélie Poinssot, he explains the rural evolution which created the need for foreign labour, and details how many migrants became trapped in an organised "state of slavery" made possible by a “law of silence” enforced by politicians.

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Earlier this year, the supervisors of a strawberry farm in Greece, in the village of Nea Manolada, in the southern Peloponnese region, opened fire on a group of some 200 immigrant workers who had demanded to be paid their salaries which had been withheld for six months.