Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Italy

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 14 June 2004
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Italy, 14 June 2004, available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Italy (Tier 1)

Italy is a country of destination for sex and labor trafficking. Victims also transit Italy to other European Union (EU) countries for the same purposes. Italian authorities estimated that there were 25,000-30,000 trafficking victims in the country, originating from Nigeria, Ukraine, Moldova, Albania, Romania, Russia, Bulgaria, East Africa, China and South America (Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina). Trafficking in children for sweatshop labor is a particular problem in Italy's expanding Chinese immigrant community.

The Government of Italy fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government worked closely with regional partners and source countries to combat trafficking and provided the majority of funding for victim assistance programs within Italy. Despite the government's notable achievements, the magnitude of the trafficking problem appeared to remain constant, if not continue to grow. As such, the government should focus on education campaigns within Italy that address the growing demand. Moreover, the government should ensure its new anti-trafficking law is vigorously implemented and should review implementation of immigration laws to ensure it is not compromising protections afforded to trafficking victims.


Italian law enforcement officials enforced anti-trafficking laws, but their approach conflated trafficking and illegal immigration. In 2003, the government criminalized trafficking and increased penalties for offenders to a range of eight to 20 years' imprisonment. In 2003, police arrested 128 people on charges of enslavement, trade of slaves, smuggling and trafficking in minors for prostitution. Italy formalized anti-trafficking law enforcement cooperation with several countries, including Libya and Germany, and joint actions with those countries led to 23 arrests of suspected traffickers. Available prosecution statistics from 2002 show 21 convictions for offenses including enslavement, trade of slaves, smuggling and trafficking in minors for prostitution. Italian law enforcement and judicial authorities were compiling a statistical profile of sentences conferred on traffickers at the time of this report. Italy also conducted joint border patrols with Slovenia and trained police forces in Albania.


The Italian Government funded and supported victim referral to NGOs providing shelter and comprehensive services. The new trafficking legislation created a separate budget category for victim assistance programs and the central government provided 70% of this budget in 2003. The government provided assistance and temporary residence and work permits to victims, which could be renewed or converted to permanent residency under certain conditions. Minor victims were automatically eligible for residency. The government provided 848 temporary residence permits to trafficking victims, although NGOs complained that officials in some locales used access to residency permits to pressure victims into cooperating with law enforcement. According to NGOs, tougher immigration laws prompted authorities to deport illegal immigrants without first determining whether they were trafficking victims. In 2003, the government funded voluntary repatriation and six month reintegration assistance for 47 victims.


Italy cooperated both regionally and bilaterally with source countries to combat trafficking and illegal migration, but it fell short in addressing the domestic demand for trafficking victims. The government used its EU presidency to create a coordination mechanism between trafficking source and destination countries, and proposed the EU's Council Directive on Trafficking. In Italy, the Department for Equal Opportunity continued its toll-free hotline for victims. It funded an IOM information campaign aimed at current and potential victims. Italy signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nigeria to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts.

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