ITALY (Tier 1)

Italy is a destination and transit country for women, children, and men subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution and forced labor. Victims originated from North and East Africa, Eastern Europe, the Former Soviet Union, South America, Asia and the Middle East. Romanians and other children from Eastern Europe continued to be subjected to forced prostitution and forced begging in the country. A significant number of men continued to be subjected to forced labor and debt bondage mostly in the agricultural sector in southern Italy. In 2009, labor inspectors discovered 98,400 unregistered workers employed by 80,000 of the 100,600 farms inspected; their unregistered status rendered them vulnerable to trafficking. The source countries from which forced labor victims are likely found include Poland, Romania, Pakistan, Albania, Morocco, Bangladesh, China, Senegal, Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire. Traffickers continued to move victims more frequently within Italy, often keeping victims in major cities for only a few months at a time, in an attempt to evade police detection. NGOs and independent experts reported that efforts to limit street prostitution and crackdowns on illegal immigration have shifted trafficking into more private, hidden sectors, causing the identification of trafficking victims to become more difficult and complex.

The Government of Italy fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government continued to provide comprehensive assistance to identified trafficking victims during the reporting period. However, according to NGOs the government failed to proactively identify many potential trafficking victims throughout the year, representing a significant departure from its previous victim-centered approach to trafficking in Italy. This might have resulted in victims' removal to countries where they faced retribution and hardship and victims being penalized as a direct result of being trafficked.

Recommendations for Italy: Increase outreach and identification efforts to potential victims to ensure that more trafficking victims are identified, provided care, and not penalized for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked; proactively identify potential trafficking victims among illegal immigrant populations to prevent their removal to countries where they face hardship or retribution; and vigorously investigate and prosecute all acts of trafficking-related complicity.


The Government of Italy continued to demonstrate vigorous anti-human trafficking law enforcement efforts during the year. Italy prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through its 2003 Measures Against Trafficking in Persons law, which prescribes penalties of eight to 20 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious offenses. Complete data for 2008 showed it investigated 2,738 suspects for trafficking, resulting in the arrest of 365 people. The government reported trial courts convicted 138 trafficking offenders in 2008 and sentenced them to an estimated average of four years' imprisonment, the government reported that all offenders were prosecuted under its 2003 trafficking law. The government reportedly used other laws, which carry lesser penalties, in some cases to prosecute forced labor trafficking. It did not, however, disaggregate its data to demonstrate any prosecutions or convictions for force labor offenses. In December 2009, authorities arrested and charged two prison guards with exploitation of women in prostitution. In September 2007, an officer of the Italian consulate in Kyiv was arrested for facilitating the trafficking of young girls for forced prostitution in clubs and discos; the Italian government did not report on any subsequent investigation in Italy.


The Government of Italy demonstrated continued efforts to protect and assist identified trafficking victims during the reporting period. Article 18 of its anti-trafficking law codifies the identification and referral of trafficking victims to NGOs for care and assistance; however, the government did not have stand-alone procedures for front-line responders to ensure this aspect of the law was being implemented. In 2008, approximately 1,100 trafficking victims, including 50 children and 100 men, entered social protection programs. According to the Ministry of Interior, 810 victims received residency permits by assisting law enforcement in 2009, compared with 664 the previous year. Adult trafficking victims were granted a six-month residency permit, which was renewed if the victim found employment or had enrolled in a training program. Children received an automatic residence permit until they reached age 18. In 2009, the national government and local authorities earmarked $12.7 million for victim assistance projects. The government ensured, through IOM, the responsible return of 34 trafficking victims in 2009. Victims who are identified and file complaints against traffickers generally did not face penalties for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked.

During the reporting period, the government aggressively implemented anti-immigration security laws and polices resulting in fines for illegal migrants and their expedited expulsion from Italy. International human rights groups and local experts reported this resulted in authorities failing to take adequate measures to identify potential victims of trafficking. Further, the Italian government implemented an accord with the Government of Libya during the reporting period that allowed for Italian authorities to interdict, forcibly return and re-route boat migrants to Libya. According to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch the government failed to conduct even a cursory screening among these migrants for indications of trafficking. Race riots in Rosarno in January 2010 revealed the rampant exploitation of immigrant labor within Italy's agricultural sector. The government reported many of these 1,000 African migrants possessed temporary residence permits; the government reported granting some migrants asylum and deported the remainder. It is unclear if authorities systematically attempted to identify trafficking victims among these migrants; only eight migrants requested residence permits as trafficking victims.


The Government of Italy continued to make efforts to prevent trafficking in 2009. The government implemented an information campaign, funded by the EU, during the reporting period that included television and radio ads aimed at informing the public that some women in prostitution in their towns may be victims of modern slavery. NGOs continued to distribute government-funded materials that included television and Internet spots, banners, and bumper stickers in various languages during the reporting period. The government sponsored a program implemented by IOM in 2009 aimed at strengthening capabilities of Nigerian NGOs and preventing trafficking of Nigerian victims. The government reported it regularly organizes training sessions on human rights and trafficking for both civilians and military personnel who serve in international peacekeeping missions abroad. The NGO ECPAT estimated that 80,000 Italian men travel to Kenya, Thailand, Brazil, Latin America and the Czech Republic for sex tourism every year. The government continued its program to combat child sex tourism that included outreach to travel agencies and tour operators; however it did not report it prosecuted any such activity in 2009.


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