Cara Mineo is the largest internment camp for Mediterranean migrants in Europe; situated in Catania, Sicily, the center houses up to 4,000 migrants.
The Mineo Center is one of many migrant camps which carry a poor reputation; The Association of Doctors for Human Rights believe the living conditions to be unsuitable for human beings. The sub-standard services at the camps are a consequence of corrupt officials siphoning money from government contracts.
Corrado de Rosa, an expert on the Mafia, believes the Cosa Nostra is at the heart of the corruption, from human trafficking to administration of migrant camps such as Cara Mineo. He says the Mafia operate as a ‘employment agency‘ for migrants, encouraging migrants to come in order to make more money.
Italian authorities started an investigation into corruption within Rome last year which revealed a huge criminal network; it became known as Mafia Capitale individuals arrested ranged from politicians to terrorists. Salvatore Buzzi was arrested in the investigation, Buzzi president of the Eriches consortium controlled reception centers around Rome. Buzzi was heard during a wiretap, saying ‘ Do you have any idea how much we earn off migrants? Drugs are less profitable‘. Migrant camp corruption is not only localized to Rome; officials from the Cara Mineo consortium in Sicily have also been included in a new investigation. Mafiosi have been attracted to smuggling and running migration camps due to the profitability, as Buzzi said ‘Drugs are less profitable’. In fact mafiosi have been increasingly reliant on migrants for increased profits, leaving traditional business avenues such as drug trafficking behind. Mafia were able to gain control over migrant facilities through bribery, in which public officials were paid as much as $18,000.