Piazza Pretoria, Palermo, Sicily, Oct. 5, 2008. (Wikimedia Commons/Russell James Smith)
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At the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Sicily has lured hordes of visitors in its 2,500-year history. Today, it is enticing ethical tourists who do not want to line the pockets of organized criminals. Challenging the stereotypical portrayal of Sicilians as mobsters, social enterprises -- businesses that aim to do good while making profits -- are steering visitors toward Mafia-free hotels, restaurants and shops.According to a 2012 study, nearly three-quarters of Sicily's businesses do pay.In exchange for lower payments, the Mafia may impose hiring its associates or using suppliers connected with it, effectively gaining control of the business.As for the chances of ethical businesses giving in to threats, Riccobono said so far that hadn't been the case.Its affiliate network of social enterprises cultivates organic crops on lands confiscated from the Mafia, and has branched out into offering tours and farm stays.According to a 2012 study by SOS Impresa, the anti-racket arm of Confesercenti, the Italian retailers association, around 70 percent of the 50,000 businesses based in Sicily pay the pizzo, primarily in provinces with large urban centers such as Palermo, Trapani, Catania and Messina.
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