Morning Future Beni Confiscati
Inspiring Best Practice 22 November Nov 2019 0731 22 November 2019

From the mafia back to the community: seized assets create employment

Wine companies, restaurants, hotels: from North to South there are hundreds of businesses that have started where the mafia clans previously dominated. Here are some stories

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Over 23,000 confiscated assets, of which about 14,000 given back to the community. The fight against the mafias also starts from the seizure of land, companies and real estate owned by the clans, which, thanks to a 1996 law, are now assigned to associations, institutions or entities that deal with giving social utility to those assets. But alongside health, hospitality or culture facilities, every year dozens of new business activities are also being created, healthy companies that sprout where the mafias once dominated. And so the fight against crime becomes an opportunity to create employment.

The BeneItalia report conducted by the association Libera charts some numbers: out of 70 “requalifying” scenarios analyzed, there were 403 employees, as well as 1,421 volunteers. If, as mentioned, the confiscated assets already returned to the community are about 14,000, a general estimate would show thousands of jobs created.

Italy, from North to South, is full of good examples in this sense.

In Scafati (Salerno, Italy), for example, land confiscated from the criminal organizations is today called the “Nicola Nappo” agricultural fund and here the ATS (a temporary objective-based association) "Terra Viva" has just put on sale 3,000 bottles of San Marzano Dop tomato puree, made from the 30 tons of tomatoes produced. Not a bad result, but there’s more. As the Flai Cgil labor unions Secretary General for Campania, Giuseppe Carotenuto, has announced, the projects are even more ambitious: “The cultivation of the nocerino spring onion, fennel, scaroles and fiarielli has already started. And we are also proceeding with the cultivation of the thousand fruit trees planted in recent months.”

Speaking of food products, another exemplary case is the Nuova Cucina Organizzata (New Organized Kitchen). A name that calls out the New Camorra, testifying how the clan belonging to “Sandokan” Schiavone controlled the center Don Milani in Casal di Principe (Caserta, Italy). Since 2015 , within that facility, Peppe Pagano has operated this restaurant, pizzeria and catering service, which has grown bigger and bigger by employing a hundred people, including women and men to be re-included in society.

Out of 70 confiscated asset situations analyzed, the Libera association recorded 403 new jobs

From one kitchen to another, but this time in the North. A new opportunity for work is the recovery of the location of the former Wall Street restaurant in Lecco, which for years served as a home for clan meetings. Confiscated in 1996, for more than twenty years the premises had remained vacant, until in 2017 the pizzeria Fiore – cucina in libertà (free kitchens) was opened, presenting itself as “a startup project of social entrepreneurship” with a particular focus “on the culture of legality, reception and the work inclusion disadvantaged people”.

And what about the Gran Hotel Gianicolo in Rome, seized in 2013 from the Mattiani family? Nineteen people worked illegally at the facility, which seemed destined to close. But thanks to their work and the help of the judicial administrator Ersilia Bartolomucci, the hotel was saved and was entrusted to the guidance of Giuseppe Ruisi. Those nineteen workers were all put into good standing and two more were added. And the hotel has finally been awarded four stars.

San Cipirello (Palermo, Italy) is the home of the winery Centopassi, which opened ten years ago. In a land once a fiefdom of Corleonese bosses, a vast cultivation of vines has been created, which every year guarantees a production of between 150 thousand and 200 thousand bottles of white and red wine. An increasingly solid company that has already collected several awards for the quality of its wine.

Going back to the North, the virtuous case of Osteria Tela, in Rescaldina (Milan), is worth mentioning. In those same premises the clans held their meetings and ran a pizzeria, while today ten people (three of them disadvantaged) work permanently after a group of associations and cooperatives won a call to reuse the spaces in 2014. In addition, “the inn has also opened up to schools, bringing in children taking part in work placement programs. To whom one day we will be able to teach how to bring back into society an asset which previously belonged to a clan.

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