2016 / Editorial / Photo Essay

Tomatoes Women

  • Photographer
    Prandi Stefania
  • Agency / Studio

Across the nation in the greenhouses of Italian tomatoes exported internationally for salad and passata, female workers are exploited, sexually harassed and blackmailed. In Vittoria, Sicily, most workers are from Romania (they don't need visas as it’s a European country). They work from 6.30am till 5pm for €25 per day, on average €5 or €10 less than their male colleagues. Reporting violence to the police is complicated: the women are not easily believed and gathering proof is very difficult. Moreover, social stigma is widespread in Italian culture: “it’s not violence because they like it”. In Vittoria, more than 5,000 Romanian women work in the greenhouses. Female immigrant fruit pickers, also from Africa or India, are exploited in many other regions of Italy with a common rule: everyone knows but no one talks about it.

I covered gender, social and environmental topics, as well as foreign affairs, as freelance journalist and photographer. I reported from Ethiopia, Morocco, Spain, Albania, India, Greece, Portugal and Italy, for both national and international publications such as Al Jazeera, Vice, El País, Open Society Foundations, Correctiv, the Swiss magazine Azione, RSI (Radiotelevisione Svizzera), Pagina99, Gli Stati Generali, Elle Italy, Elle Hungary, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Il Corriere del Ticino, Il Fatto Quotidiano.it.