Tina Agbonyinma beneficiary of project to combat exploitation
(ANSA) – ROME, MAY 31 – Gangmasters in Italy’s southern Campania region have a new name to be reckoned with: Tina Agbonyinma, the first Nigerian woman to drive an anti-exploitation truck in Italy.
Employed by Montella Bio in Frignano near Caserta, an area renowned for its exploitation of farm labourers, including many migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa, each day the 34-year-old drives herself and her colleagues to the farm where they work on a regular contract and with honest wages, rather than travelling in one of the trucks typically used by gangmasters to transport their ‘recruits’ to the fields, often for a fare that is deducted from their already miserable pay.
She and four other Nigerians – in all four woman and one man – are the beneficiaries of a project run by the Nocap association led by former farm labourer, anti-gangmastering activist and writer Yvan Sagnet and a local branch of the Catholic relief charity Caritas, having been identified for their history of enduring labour exploitation in Italy.
However, throughout her time of exploitation, Agbonyinma says she has never lost sight of her independence or dignity and always refused to give in to the mirage of “easy money”, often with the associated risks of drugs or prostitution.
“I never wanted that money,” said the young woman, who arrived in Italy in 2008 aged 19 and has two children.
“Nor did I ever want to waste my life on the street, because life should be lived in dignity. I have always worked honestly, and I hope that many compatriots will follow my example,” she added.
photo: anti-gangmastering activist and writer Yvan Sagnet (ANSA).