Mon, Jul 24, 2006 - Page 6 News List

Freed Polish worker tells of forced labor camps in Italy

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , ROME

The other seven countries are the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia.

Lukasz, who declined to give his last name for fear of reprisal, spoke through an interpreter in a telephone interview hours before he was to leave Bari, a port city, to return to Poland.

Unlike many of the workers, he was at the camp only 10 days. He said he had spent more than US$500 and in the end had received nothing.

He said the supervisor of his work group was armed and often threatened them. And he said he had heard stories of workers disappearing.

When asked why he did not try to escape, he chuckled.

"If I would have had the money, I would have," he said. "But I didn't have any way to get back."

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