This article critically assesses the criminal law approach to labour exploitation and challenges the assumption that its limited effectiveness depends on the hesitation and unwillingness of migrant workers to collaborate with competent authorities. It adopts a legal mobilisation approach to explore how law and litigation can effectively play a role in fighting labour exploitation. It does so by focusing on the experience of collective mobilisation of migrant farmworkers in the Agro Pontino in Italy. In accordance with the findings emerging from the case study, the article makes an attempt at rethinking strategies for fighting labour exploitation in Europe, based on the needs and expectations of exploited workers as described in the 2019 FRA Report on labour exploitation. It proposes therefore an exercise of “legal imagination” that aims to identify under EU law the provisions that would allow to translate these needs and expectations into legal claims.
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