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The shelter of the slaves

2015-2018 Plain of Gioia Tauro, Italy.

The evening of the 7 January 2010 on the street that links Rosarno to Gioia Tauro, two unknown guys fired with an air gun on three African day labourers who were walking home after a day at work in the fields picking oranges and mandarines. This fact caused a revolt in Rosarno of the African migrants against the mafia and their exploitation in the countryside. The police tried to repress this revolt, but the day after 2000 migrants protested more violently, by crashing with the police and assaulting stores and cars. That provoked the reaction of citizens who organised independent patrols armed with guns and clubs. Due to the critical situation, the Ministry of the Interior imposed the forced transfer of the all migrants in the Plain of Gioia Tauro, who were left in big cities like Roma and Napoli, without house, without assistance, without documents, without future perspectives. Therefore, in absence of means of survival most of them went back in the Plain. There, they occupied some farmhouses which were demolished by the Prefecture of Rosarno in 2011. Only in January 2012, in the industrial area of San Ferdinando the Ministry of the Interior created the tent city of 50 tents to host a total of 300 migrants. The tent city is situated in the industrial area of San Ferdinando, a sterile environment with hardly any familiar reference point. On February 2015 when I started to photograph it, the conditions were worst: 1300 migrants dwelled the tents and there were 18 new shacks (9 residence, 2 butcher’s shops, 2 bazars, 2 bars, a church, a mosque and the last one used by a guy to warm up the water for the shower) and 2 containers transformed into garages for the reparation of the bicycles.
My project witnesses this place between 2015 and 2018 where the tent city has been at the centre of the national news for fires, murders and evictions although the migrants seem living suspended. Waiting for the documents, the new work season, a better place to live in.
While talking with Kobi about the living condition he said: "we are dead people alive".



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