Watch: Migrants found living “inhumanely” in cow stalls in Qormi

Watch: Migrants found living “inhumanely” in cow stalls in Qormi

Planning Authority enforcement officers and police clamped down on a farm in Qormi early on Monday morning, where around 120 immigrants were found to be living in inhumane conditions.

The migrants have been evicted from the stalls which housed them, some of which “reeked of death”, according to one enforcement officer.

The 'shower cubicles'. Photo: Marc AaronThe ‘shower cubicles’. Photo: Marc Aaron

The immigrants were living in cow stalls, which had been sub-divided into partitions with numerous beds, principal direction officer Charles Gafa said. The open-air ‘shower cubicles’ were full of green mould, with water seeping into the ‘courtyard’.

The PA had received numerous reports on the place in Sqaq Awżara, with Mr Gafa admitting they had been “a bit sceptical” when they started receiving the complaints

The authority found that all the rooms had no basic facilities or privacy and were significantly overcrowded. The shower and lavatory facilities were a health hazard for those making use of them.

The PA’s officers will monitor the site to ensure that the use of the farm remains according to its permitted use, it said in a statement.

The immigrants would have to find alternative places to live, after they insisted they were coming legally from Europe, he added.

A number of migrants were later seen on the Mrieħel bypass, carrying their belongings.

The power to the farm had been cut earlier Monday morning.

Video: Sarah CarabottVideo: Sarah Carabott

Each ‘room’ was reportedly being rented out for €200 a month, with migrants who spoke to Times of Malta saying they had rented their space for €100 a month.

“I paid around three days ago,” said one irate migrant, who had been living in the area for around two weeks, said.

Four of the evicted residents said they heard about the remote farm through word of mouth.

Appearing lost and frustrated, the migrants could be seen making their way down from the remote farm to the Mrieħel bypass.

Some frantically asked whether the area had been closed off completely since they still had some of their belongings there. One of the migrants could not get access to his bicycle, which he needed to get to his friend’s house, where he said he planned to move.

Photo: Chris Sant FournierPhoto: Chris Sant Fournier
Photo: Marc AaronPhoto: Marc Aaron

Human rights organisation Aditus foundation called for further investigations into possible exploitation, slavery and trafficking.

“Aditus, and other NGOs and academics in the field, have repeatedly reported severe labour exploitation of migrant workers in the agriculture sector, at times amounting to forced labour, slavery and trafficking for labour exploitation,” the NGO said.

Investigations are underway into the role of one of the occupants who was allegedly behind the use of the farmhouse by the migrants.

watch migrants found living inhumanely in cow stalls in qormi 3 - Watch: Migrants found living "inhumanely" in cow stalls in Qormi

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