Last Updated: Friday, 11 July 2014, 13:14 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Italy

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 12 June 2007
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Italy, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3bac.html [accessed 12 July 2014]
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 transit and destination country for women, children and men trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Most victims are women and children from Nigeria, Romania, Moldova, Albania, and Ukraine though in smaller numbers there are also victims from Russia, Bulgaria, Latin America, North and East Africa, the Middle East, and China. Children constitute 7 to 10 percent of victims. There has been an increase in Romanian minors trafficked to Italy for sexual exploitation, an unintended consequence of a EU-mandated closure of Romanian orphanages. The number of Roma children trafficked for forced begging has also risen. Men from Poland and the P. R. C. are trafficked to Italy for forced labor, mostly in the agricultural sector.

The Government of Italy fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Italy has taken aggressive steps to enforce its anti-trafficking laws and to provide protection to victims. To further strengthen further its response to trafficking, Italy should take steps to ensure that Article 18 benefits are administered equally to labor trafficking victims, ensure that victims are not penalized for crimes committed as a result of being trafficked, and launch demand reduction campaigns.

Prosecution

The Government of Italy demonstrated sustained, strong law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking throughout the reporting period. Italy prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through its 2003 Measures Against Trafficking in Persons law. The prescribed penalty of 8 to 20 years' imprisonment for all forms of trafficking is sufficiently stringent and commensurate with the nation's maximum 12-year prison sentence for forcible sexual assault. In 2006, the government raised the legal minimum age for engaging in prostitution from 15 to 18 years old. In an effort to highlight its concern about forced labor, in November 2006 the government proposed legislation to introduce new penalties for job recruiters who exploit workers. Between October 2006 and January 2007, the government conducted a large-scale anti-trafficking crackdown,"Operation Spartacus," which yielded the arrests of 784 suspected traffickers and led to the opening of investigations of 1,311 persons which are still ongoing. Trafficking investigations in 2005 – the last year for which complete data was available – increased to 2,045 from 1,861 in 2004. One hundred-two trafficking cases were prosecuted in 2005 resulting in the conviction of 125 traffickers and the acquittal of 48 defendants.

Protection

The Italian government sustained strong efforts to protect trafficking victims during reporting period. The government spent 4.3 million euros ($5.82 million) on victim assistance in 2006, financing 77 NGO projects to provide legal services, health care, and counseling to 7,300 women trafficking victims. In 2006, government-funded NGOs also provided literacy courses for 340 victims, vocational training for 430 victims, and employment assistance to 1189 victims. The government funded the repatriation and reintegration of 69 foreign victims and issued temporary residence visas to 927 victims in 2006. Article 18 of the anti-trafficking law allows authorities to grant residence permits and provide protection and job training services to victims of all forms of trafficking, including victims of forced labor, but benefits to date have primarily been given to sex trafficking victims. In 2007, the government extended Article 18 benefits to victims from EU countries. The government encourages victims to assist in trafficking investigations or prosecutions by offering temporary residency permits, though a victim need not assist law enforcement efforts in order to receive a temporary residency permit. In addition, a victim who is a material witness in a court case against a former employer may obtain other employment. Despite the government's efforts to identify all victims of trafficking, some, such as Nigerian women in commercial sexual exploitation, are still deported. The government is investigating allegations by an independent commission that its victim identification measures for immigrants arriving in boats from North Africa are not fully effective. Victims who file complaints against traffickers usually do not face prosecution.

Prevention

The Government of Italy demonstrated strong efforts to educate the Italian public about trafficking during the reporting period. NGOs continued to raise awareness using government-funded materials, including brochures, posters, and TV and radio ads about trafficking. The Minister for Equal Opportunities began implementing a new system at national and regional levels to track national anti-trafficking efforts.

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