FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) – Italian police have arrested two Chinese nationals who were running a leather goods manufacturer in Tuscany in an investigation into alleged labour exploitation and tax fraud.
Tax police in Florence said in a statement on Wednesday they had also taken restrictive measures against two other Chinese nationals, including a ban on them leaving the country, and seized 523,000 euros ($609,350).
The four Chinese, all members of the same family, exploited immigrant workers including nationals of Pakistan and Bangladesh, to produce handbags, the police said. They made them work for up to 14 hours a day with a pay of just over 3 euros an hour, police said.
Police said the arrests were the latest in a crackdown against labour exploitation and irregular work contracts in the area, which is dotted with hundreds of textile and leather goods artisan workshops.
Italy accounts for around 40% of manufacturing for the global fashion and luxury industry.
Political Cartoons on World Leaders
Police in the nearby town of Prato, home to one of Europe’s biggest Chinese communities, last month placed two Chinese nationals under house arrest for allegedly exploiting Chinese and African workers to make luxury handbags.
(Reporting by Silvia Ognibene, writing by Silvia Aloisi, Editing by Angus MacSwan)
Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.