Italy (Tier 1)
Italy is a destination and a transit country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. Estimates provided by PARSEC a social research institute in Italy indicated 2,000 to 3,000 new trafficking victims in 2004. Victims originated largely from Nigeria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, and Albania. Other areas of origin included Russia, Bulgaria, Africa, China, and South America. Although children were primarily trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, there have been reports in the past of children trafficked for sweatshop labor in Italy's Chinese immigrant community.
The Government of Italy fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Although the government did not provide full data on investigations, prosecutions, convictions and sentences, the Secretary of State has determined that it has made a good faith effort to do so. In 2004, the government led Europe in the number of trafficking victims protected through special visas and state assistance programs; many of the victims helped were successfully integrated into Italian society. The government's significant role in prevention is commendable; however, it should implement focused demand reduction campaigns to more effectively tackle the demand for trafficking victims within Italy. The government should be more vigilant in screening illegal migrants to determine whether or not they are trafficking victims. The government must provide comprehensive, national level enforcement statistics to demonstrate appreciable progress.
The government failed to provide updated, centralized law enforcement statistics for 2004; thus, whether or not there was improvement in its anti-trafficking efforts is unknown. Available statistics from 2003 show 328 arrests, an increase from 209 in 2002. Between 2002 and 2003, the government reported 41 lower court convictions. In 2004, Italian authorities successfully cooperated with law enforcement counterparts in Brazil and Cambodia to shut down child sex tourism involving Italian citizens. There continued to be some isolated reports of local and border officials accepting bribes and facilitating trafficking; however the government took measures to mitigate this by rotating officers off patrols for controlling prostitution.
In 2004, the Italian Government continued and expanded its strong efforts to provide comprehensive protection and reintegration aid to trafficking victims. The Ministry of Equal Opportunity spent over four million Euros on 69 projects to assist 8,600 women victims in 2004, an increase from the 6,086 assisted in 2003. Under Article 18 of Italy's anti-trafficking law, 1,940 victims, including 118 minors, entered social protection programs in 2004, a nine percent increase from 2003. NGOs, with government funding, provided literacy courses for 440 victims and vocational training for 431; they helped 389 victims find temporary employment and another 944 find permanent jobs. IOM and others considered the government's Article 18 to be a model for other EU countries. The government continued to implement tough immigration laws in response to a significant influx of illegal immigrants. As a result, there were continued reports of authorities inadvertently deporting potential victims before they could be adequately screened and identified as having been trafficked. In 2004, the government funded voluntary repatriation and six month reintegration assistance for 66 victims.
In 2004, the government funded a number of public awareness initiatives that included brochures, posters, bumper stickers, and popular media ads. One television ad highlighted demand by targeting domestic customers in order to emphasize the link between trafficking and prostitution. Italian authorities successfully conducted joint border patrols and training with Slovenia and Albania, reportedly decreasing trafficking flows across the Adriatic Sea. Italy continued to provide bilateral and multilateral assistance for programs in source countries; in 2004, the government funded outreach campaigns in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Hungary.