Action Plan on Trafficking in Persons – Smuggling of Migrants
On February 26, 2016, the Council of Ministers adopted the National Action Plan against Human Trafficking and Severe Exploitation 2016-2018, in the implementation of the 2011/36 EU Directive, which sets the minimum standards for the definition of crimes and penalties in the context of human trafficking and common provisions for EU Member States. The plan aims to strengthen the prevention and prosecution of crime and the protection of victims. The plan is structured according to the five priorities identified by the EU strategy:
1. Identify, protect, and assist victims of trafficking
2. Intensifying the prevention of human trafficking
3. Enhance prosecution of traffickers
4. Improve coordination between key stakeholders and policy coherence
5. Increase awareness of emerging issues related to all forms of human trafficking and provide an effective response.
In light of the complexity and multi-sectoral nature of the interventions, the plan envisaged the establishment of a coordination group of a political-institutional nature. This ensures that a multidisciplinary and integrated approach between the different actors, both institutional and private, is adopted. The plan expired in 2018, and in 2019 the Ministry for Equal Opportunities and Family started the d (iscussion for developing a new plan, involving NGOS, civil society organizations, and UN agencies (IOM, UNICEF, and UNHCR). Please refer to the Action Plan Against Trafficking and Serious Exploitation (Piano d’azione contro la tratta e il grave sfruttamento) for further information.
Related plans of action
National Action Plan to tackle labour exploitation in agriculture: Adopted on February 20, 2020 by the Inter-Institutional Committee on labour exploitation, the plan represents an important shift towards a more comprehensive and multi-dimensional approach. It is structured around four strategic pillars: prevention, protection, enforcement, and remedies, including both immediate measures and long-term interventions. It takes into account all the dimensions of labour exploitation in agriculture by fostering efficiency and organization of supply chains, promoting decent work and economic and social sustainability, strengthening labour intermediation, improving labour law enforcement and compliance, and protecting and assisting victims, including through measures for their socio-economic inclusion.
National Action Plan to combat men’s violence against women (2017-2020): The National Strategic Plan, also refers to migrant women, refugees and asylum seekers and implements: specific trainings on violence and health issues for migrant women for the first and second line actors of the reception centers; trainings for the territorial commissions regarding the investigation and referral of victims of violence; information and sensitization campaigns for migrant women about the various forms of violence against women (e.g. female genital mutilation, forced marriages, trafficking).
The fourth National Action Plan for the Care and the Development of Children and Adolescents (2016-2017) was developed by the National Observatory on Children and Adolescents and adopted by a Presidential Decree on August 31, 2016. The National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Sexual Exploitation of Children 2015-2017 has been fully taken into consideration in the framework of the fourth National Action Plan for the Care and the Development of Children and Adolescents.
Italy’s National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (2016-2021) focuses on six priorities, including tackling “caporalato” and other forms of exploitation, forced labour, child labour, and slavery, with particular focus on migrants and victims of trafficking.
The institution/s in charge of identifying VOTs or traffickers in the field
Local anti-trafficking networks exist in most Italian regions, involving a range of public agencies and NGOs. In Catania, for example, the anti-trafficking network, led by the Anti-Mafia Prosecutor’s Office (DDA), meets periodically with a view to adopting a multi-agency approach to victim identification. In Tuscany, as part of the regional project SATIS, which is led by the Health Service of Pisa and involves relevant local and regional services and NGOs, a regional helpline has been set up. Regional authorities inform the national helpline about of all cases of victims of TIP, including cases of sexual exploitation, labour exploitation (in the sectors of agriculture, textile, and leather manufacturing) and forced begging. The project partners are also involved in the identification of victims of trafficking among asylum seekers.
From 2006 through 2019, IOM was present at landing points, hot spots, and reception and detention centres to inform migrants arriving by sea about the risks related to TIP. It also supported identification of the victims and referred them to the appropriate authorities as indicated in the national protection mechanism. The national SOP applied in the Hotspots and at landing points envisaged IOM role and was approved by the Italian Minister of the Interior in 2016. Since 2020, the end of the Aditus project corresponded with IOM ceasing to carry out these activities. Apart from entry points, where IOM has a continued presence, NGOs conduct outreach activities of VOTs for sexual exploitation on the streets.
As part of the three-year National Plan to tackle labour exploitation in agriculture, IOM together with national authorities and relevant stakeholders is implementing two projects to strengthen the capacity of labour inspectors to detect, identify, and assist victims of trafficking and/or severe labour exploitation (i.e. Su.Pr.Eme. and A.L.T. Caporalato!). In particular, through a specialized team of cultural mediators deployed across the country, IOM guarantees individual follow-up with potential victims, referring them to the counter-trafficking network for protection when needed.
Agency responsible for border management and control of entry and exit from the country
The Polizia di Stato (Italian National Police) belongs to the Department of Public Security within the Ministry of the Interior. The department has several Central Directorates, including the Central Directorate for Immigration and Border Police. The Central Directorate’s border police branch, Polizia di Frontiera, is responsible for border and immigration management at land, sea, and air borders. The Central Directorate is also responsible for aviation security at airports and for readmission and forced return activities.
National Actors Addressing Smuggling of Migrants
The Polizia di Frontiera (see above).
National Coordinating Bodies
On August 2, 2016, a Steering Committee (Cabina di regia) was set up under the National Action Plan, led by the Department of Equal Opportunities of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. The committee serves as a national inter-institutional forum for planning, implementation, and financing of measures to combat human trafficking under the National Action Plan. It is chaired by the Undersecretary of State in charge of gender equality and is composed of representatives of the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education, University and Research, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, the National Anti-Mafia Directorate, the Carabinieri Corps, the State Police, the Financial Police, and regional and local authorities. NGOs and trade unions are invited to attend the Steering Committee meetings in a consulting role.
Within the Steering Committee, four working groups were established with a view to ensuring the implementation of different aspects of the National Action Plan. They deal respectively with prevention, protection, cooperation, and coordination between the protection systems for asylum seekers and for trafficking victims. The working groups include representatives of civil society and relevant international organizations (such as IOM and UNHCR).
Specialized Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) Unit
The Department for Equal Opportunities (DEO), which is subordinated to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, is the governmental body responsible for coordinating and implementing anti-trafficking policy, with the exception of law enforcement and prosecution activities. Within DEO, the Office for General and International Affairs and Interventions in the Social Field is the entity responsible for anti-trafficking activities.
This office represents the Italian government at the international level and has a broad portfolio in the area of equal opportunities, which includes the prevention of exploitation and sexual abuse of children.
DEO manages the annual call for tenders through which NGOs, in cooperation with the regional and local authorities, are selected to implement projects for assisting victims of trafficking.
DEO is also responsible collecting data on victims assisted through social protection projects, which NGOs and other organizations enter in a computerized system called SIRIT (Information system for the collection of data on trafficking in human beings). DEO also finances the national toll-free anti-trafficking helpline (800 290 290), which is run by the municipality of Venice.
Italy continues to be primarily a country of destination for trafficked persons, as well as a country of transit to other destinations in Europe. Human traffickers exploit foreign victims, and to a lesser degree domestic victims, in Italy. Victims originate primarily from Nigeria and other African countries, Romania, and other Eastern European countries, and include ethnic Romani. The majority of sex trafficking victims are from Nigeria, although more recently their numbers have decreased; however, the government and civil society maintain that Nigerian women and unaccompanied children remain extremely vulnerable to trafficking because of the continued operation of several organized Nigerian trafficking networks. Authorities report that traffickers often encourage Nigerian victims to claim asylum to obtain legal residency and facilitate their continued exploitation. Traffickers frequently target unaccompanied children, who are especially vulnerable to trafficking; children are exploited in child sex trafficking, forced to commit crimes or beg, and forced to work in shops, bars, restaurants, and bakeries. Ethnic Romani children are at risk for trafficking, including forced begging and child sex trafficking. Italy has an estimated 1.5 million unregistered workers and 3.7 million irregular workers who are at risk for labour trafficking, particularly seasonal workers in the agricultural sector. Italy has approximately 600,000 irregular migrants, many of whom are at risk of trafficking, especially due to government restrictions on humanitarian protection and decreased support for migrants, which took effect in 2018. Irregular migrants that arrived by sea mostly originate from Tunisia, Pakistan, and the Ivory Coast.
Main Trends and Figures
The authorities (Department of Equal Opportunities) reported 657 new victims identified in 2019 (72% Nigerian, 4% Romanian, and 3% Ivorian), an increase of 10% compared to 597 in 2018. NGOs assisted 1,877 trafficking victims in 2019, an increase of 36% compared to 1,373 victims in 2018. Of those, 83% were female, 16% male, 1% transgender, and 3% children; 50% were victims of sex trafficking or exploitation, 11% of labour trafficking or exploitation, and 39% of other forms of exploitation. According to authorities, the number of unaccompanied children has steadily decreased; in 2019, 1,680 unaccompanied children arrived, compared to 3,534 in 2018, 15,731 in 2017, and 25,846 in 2016.
The rate of arriving refugees and migrants dropped precipitously in 2018 and 2019, due in part to government policy tightening the intake of irregular migrants and the government’s assistance to the Libyan Coast Guard. Italy received 23,370 irregular arrivals by sea in 2018 and 11,471 in 2019, many through Libya. Between 2014 and 2020, 20,575 migrants died or disappeared on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes. Between 2017 and 2019, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) identified (at landing points) a total of 2,728 presumed VOTs.
Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrant (SOM) Hotlines
TIP/SOM- +39 800 290 290 (TIP) +39 1522 (GBV survivors)
Others (Children protection/ assistance) - +39 19696
*These hotlines are available free of charge 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
More information online can be founded at:
Measures to Detect Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) Cases Along the Borders
As from 2006 until the end of 2019 IOM was present at landing points, hotspots and in the reception and detention centres to inform migrants arriving by sea about the risks related to TIP. It also supported identification of the victims and referred them to the appropriate authorities as indicated in the national protection mechanism. The national SOP applied in the Hotspots and at landing points envisaged IOM role and was approved by the Italian Minister of the Interior in 2016. Apart from entry points, where IOM continued its presence, NGOs carry out outreach activities of VOTs for sexual exploitation on the streets.
Through different teams of linguistic and intercultural mediators, IOM Italy supports the Italian Border Police at disembarkations points, hot spots, land borders, and airports, with tasks ranging from pre-identification, registration, and fingerprinting procedures; support to asylum seekers’ registration within the local police office; and assistance in the main airports (Dublin Regulation); interviews with migrants and asylum seekers to gather information relating to people-smuggling/ trafficking networks; support to the regularization of irregular migrant workers and assistance in the procedures related to permits of stay. The presence of IOM staff in the local police headquarters also ensure that victims of TIP have appropriate access to asylum procedures or are given special permits as outlined in the law.
National Referral Mechanism (NRM) and/or Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)
Existing Guidelines and SOPs: In 2017, the Ministry of the Interior and UNHCR published Guidelines for the identification of victims of trafficking among applicants for international protection and referral procedures, which are intended for the Territorial Commissions for the recognition of international protection. The Guidelines provide a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), including a step-by-step explanation of the process, flowchart, indicators, practical suggestions about how to perform interviews, model documents, and a list of 18 specialized anti-trafficking NGOs that run projects for the assistance of victims of trafficking. According to the SOP, the identification of victims of TIP takes place in two stages: preliminary and formal. Preliminary identification can take place before a person is interviewed by the Territorial Commission, while he/she is still in a first reception centre. Alternatively, during the first interview with an asylum seeker, the designated caseworker may detect the presence of indicators of TIP.
The National Referral Mechanism: The National Referral Mechanism for Victims of Trafficking is a set of recommendations and practical measures that guide all actors involved on the necessary steps in the fight against trafficking in line with existing standards of protection of human rights. It includes a detailed set of SOPs consisting of measures to ensure adequate assistance to victims of trafficking through the phases of:
first assistance and protection
long-term care and social inclusion
return and social inclusion
criminal and civil proceedings
Within the framework of the National Referral Mechanism, which will be set up through the National Action Plan, guidelines will be developed for identifying minimum standards for reception and assistance of victims, as well as for the definition of shared operating procedures. In this context, multi-agency memorandum of understanding to address TIP cases will be signed, and further initiatives will be undertaken to promote the regular and systematic training of professionals working in this field (police officers, border police, immigration service officials, public prosecutors, lawyers, and the judiciary and judicial staff).
Law Enforcement Agencies Responsible for Investigating Cases of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrant (SOM)
Pursuant to Article 51, comma 3 bis, of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the prosecution of TIP offences is the responsibility of anti-Mafia prosecutors. Under the Ministry of Justice, The National Anti-Mafia Directorate (DNA) is composed of the National Anti-Mafia Prosecutor and 20 members of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, a judicial authority entrusted with directing investigations. DNA is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the criminal prosecution of organized crime, including TIP and slavery offences, by the 26 District Anti-Mafia Directorates (DDA) across Italy. It also ensures the exchange of information between DDAs and data collection related to criminal proceedings. Furthermore, anti-Mafia prosecutors play an important role in the quaestor’s decision on issuing residence permits to victims of TIP.
For the purpose of coordination, the prosecutor may make use of the central services of the police forces such as the Anti-Mafia Investigation Directorate (DIA), the Special Operational Grouping of the Carabinieri (ROS), and the Central Investigation Service on organized crime of the Guardia di Finanza (SCICO).
Within each provincial police headquarters (Questura), there is a criminal investigation team dealing with cases of TIP. The ROS is mainly responsible for dealing with organized crime and terrorism and for investigating TIP. The Guardia di Finanza investigates TIP cases. The District Anti-Mafia Prosecutor Offices decides which service(s) should investigate a given case and coordinates their cooperation.
Identity and Travel Documentation Investigation and Forensic Lab
The Central Anticrime Directorate of Italian National Police, Forensic Science Police Service (DAC-SPS) (The Servizio di Polizia Scientifico)
The Scientific Police Service (SPS) is a unit of the Italian State Police that specializes in technical and scientific investigations in the fields of chemistry , biology and physics , as well as technical assistance for traditional investigations, including documentation. At the central level, the scientific police service is organized in a head office located in Rome within the Central Anti-Crime Directorate of the State Police and in numerous peripheral structures (14 Interregional and Regional Scientific Police Cabinets).
Technical Working Groups
Within the Steering Committee, four working groups were established to ensure the implementation of different aspects of the National Action Plan. They deal with prevention, protection, cooperation, and coordination between the protection systems for asylum seekers and trafficking victims. The working groups include representatives of civil society and relevant international organizations (such as IOM and UNHCR).
For more details on the Steering Committee, see GRETA report (proposal 4,6 and 7) .
Agency in charge of Trafficking in Persons (TIP)/Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) data collection and processing
The Directorate of Equal Opportunities (DEO) collects data on the number of assisted victims of TIP through the database SIRIT (Sistema Informatizzato di Raccolta Informazioni sulla Tratta, the computerized system for the collection of information on trafficking in human beings ). The data is supplied by civil society actors and public bodies running victim assistance projects. Funding is disbursed by the DEO, extraordinary reception centres (CAS), SPRAR system centres, the State Police (Railway Police and investigative units), the municipal police, committees of citizens, Prefectures, Territorial Commissions, IOM and counselling desks. The figures are disaggregated by gender, age, country of origin, and form of exploitation.
The Trafficking Observatory Project (Osservatorio Interventi Tratta.it) has facilitated the collection of data and reduced the previous double counting. The development and implementation of this database will allow for an effective analysis of the issue and provide a response to the multifaceted interventions. It signifies a great step towards the acquisition of knowledge. The information that will be collected and the management on this phenomenon,will serve as a tool for implementation of an effective policy against human trafficking. The new data collection system SIRIT (Sistema Informatizzato di Raccolta Informazioni sulla Tratta) will be financed through the project for the implementation of social assistance and protection of victims of trafficking and exploitation, and co-financed by the DPO according to article 18 of the d.lgs_286-98 and article 13 Legge_228-2003.
More information can be found here: TIP Observatory (available in eight languages, including English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese).
Protection and Assistance to Victims of Trafficking Agencies
Competent authority and mechanism used to officially identify and recognize a person as a VOT
As envisaged by the Consolidated Immigration Act, there are two ways for victims at immediate risk of retaliation to access to the protection system for VOTs:
Judicial path: If the victim is willing to press charges against the traffickers and the judge considers the declarations genuine
Social path: If the victim does not want to press charges against the traffickers and is assisted by IOM or an NGO
International Cooperation Agreements - Cross Border and Extradition Treaties
The National Action Plan against TIP addresses several aspects of international cooperation, in particular prevention and action in countries of origin and support measures for countries of origin in such areas as institutional reinforcement, improvement of living conditions, drafting legislation, and supporting victims and persons at risk of TIP.
At the regional and international levels, in addition to agreements with UN and the EU, Italy has signed the following agreements:
The legal basis for international judicial cooperation is the European Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. A bill currently in the process of being adopted provides for the installation of Joint Investigation Teams (JITs). The law, which is in the process of being passed, establishes Joint Investigation Teams (JITs). Law S804-841, approved by the Senate on April 6, 2011 and ratified in 2017, regulates the creation of JITs both at the request of the Italian Public Prosecutor’s Office and when requested by the authority of a foreign country. In the meantime, through the International Police Cooperation Service, Italy has taken part in various investigation working groups and has had experience with the establishment of bilateral operational protocols and cooperation mechanisms with Germany, France, Switzerland, Romania, and Albania. Similar protocols are currently under implementation with the Netherlands, Poland, and the UK.
Italy uses international cooperation channels in TIP cases, notably via Europol and INTERPOL contact points. Italy also takes part in the EU project “EMPACT” (European Multidisciplinary Project against Criminal Threats), which focuses, inter alia, on organized crime groups involved in TIP. In 2020, Italy and INTERPOL launched global countering project ‘Ndrangheta (I-CAN) project. While the project will initially focus on specific countries, the ultimate goal is to enhance the ability of law enforcement worldwide to more effectively identify and combat Mafiatype organizations.
The UNODC PROMIS project was launched to increase international cooperation to counter organized crime in West and Central Africa, a region facing a multi-dimensional security crisis, with a surge in terrorism, organized crime, maritime piracy, conflicts over resources, and all forms of trafficking. PROMIS is active in five countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Mali, Niger, and Senegal) and aims at strengthening the capacities of West African countries to develop an innovative human-rights based approach to smuggling of migrants and to address human rights violations related to irregular migration. Through the PROMIS project funded by the Netherlands and Italy, UNODC in 2018 launched an innovative initiative to foster judicial cooperation through the deployment of the two Nigerian prosecutors, first in Italy and then in Spain.
Italy is a member state of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which has an office in Rome and works in cooperation with the Italian Government on the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programme.
At the bilateral level, Italy has signed these agreements:
Several memorandums of understanding, protocols, and declarations with the Romanian authorities in the law enforcement and criminal investigation field. These agreements cover migration and the fight against organized crime and include the fight against TIP as one of the priorities.
Nigeria is the source country for most of the victims of TIP identified in Italy. Consequently, the Italian authorities have concluded several bilateral agreements with the Nigerian authorities concerning coordination between Italian and Nigerian law enforcement agencies, the creation of networks, and the provision of training to NGOs supporting victims. After two previous agreements in 2003 and 2009, a third agreement was signed by the Anti-Mafia Public Prosecutor, the Deputy General Director of Public Security, and the General Director of Criminal Police with the Nigerian National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) on April 28, 2010. It is focused on integrated interventions aimed at fighting TIP, strengthening the training of police officers and magistrates, sharing good practices and operational strategies, developing information exchange, and updating the indicators of TIP. The cooperation with Nigeria is also aimed at protecting victims and combatting organized crime, with a special focus on training and data collection. It also envisages the social reintegration of victims of TIP.
DNA has signed memorandum of understanding with a number of countries regarding trafficking. Recently, memorandums of understanding were signed with Libya and Egypt. According to DNA, it has encouraged District Prosecuting Offices to use strategic contacts for nternational cooperation, including by making use of Article 34 of the EU Convention, which provides for direct information exchange to allow a direct and dynamic approach to investigations. DNA has sometimes been successful in activating parallel investigations through bilateral cooperation with foreign counterparts. However, it pointed to difficulties with some countries that are not parties to the Convention, in particular in Africa.
Italy has signed agreements dealing with the readmission of third-country nationals with Morocco (1998), Tunisia (1998), Algeria (2000), and Egypt (2007). No standard readmission agreement has been concluded so far with Libya.
Italy has also signed extradition treaties and agreements with the Vatican and the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, The Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Germany, Kenya, Lesotho, New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the United States, and Uruguay.
Italy has signed some multilateral treaties, such as the European Convention on Extradition (Paris, 1957).
Other activities on international cooperation
Italy provided funding of 200 000 euros to UNODC for the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT), designated for the development of strategies and policies against TIP in Mali and for protection systems for child victims of TIP and witnesses of crimes in Niger. Another project, Strengthening the Transnational Response to Smuggling of Migrants and Maritime Crime in West, North and East Africa, aims to increase international cooperation against the smuggling of migrants (2.5 million euros).
The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) funds several international projects that have elements linked to combatting TIP. PAPEV, the “project of support to the protection of minor victims of human rights violations,” was implemented in 2017-2019 in Senegal, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Mali, and Niger by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). It aimed at developing an integrated system for the protection and promotion of children’s rights at the national and local level. New funding is envisaged to support Ethiopia in ensuring the right to identity to all children, with a contribution of one million euros to the Federal Vital Events Registration Agency (FVERA), in partnership with the Italian National Institute of Statistics. In selected countries of the Sahel Region, the project CINEMARENA (worth 1.5 million euros) is being implemented with the objective of informing public opinion through local and international media about the risks of irregular migration and raising awareness regarding the vulnerabilities of migrants.
The European hotline to report missing children 116000 has existed in Italy since 2009 and is managed by the NGO SOS -Il Telefono Azzurro ONLUS under a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of the Interior. It allows the reporting of cases of missing children or children in a difficult situation requiring assistance to a multilingual switchboard operator. If necessary, it is possible to involve local police offices. Furthermore, the European “Alert system for missing children” has been operational since 2013 at the International Police Cooperation Service of the Central Directorate of Criminal Police. The National Police also participates in globalmissingkids.org, an international network dedicated to missing children run by the US-based organization International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children
Transnational Referral Mechanism
A transnational referral mechanism (TRM) does not currently exist.
To learn more about TRMs, see IOM’s Transnational Referral Mechanism Model (TACT) project and tool*
*IOM, TACT Transnational Referral Mechanism, financed by le fonds Asile, Migration et integration (FAMI) https://iomfrance.org/tact/ https:// iomfrance.org/tact/fr/index.html
Additional International Instruments
At the end of 2019, IOM Rome published the report, “Victims of trafficking in the central Mediterranean route: focus on women from Côte d’Ivoire, from the trafficking in Tunisia to the risk of re-trafficking in Italy” on the increasing number of VOTs arriving from Côte d’Ivoire through the central Mediterranean route.
In 2015 and 2017 respectively, IOM Rome published, “VOTs from Nigeria arriving via sea to Italy from North Africa. Report on victims of trafficking in mixed migration flows arriving in Italy by sea April 2014 - October 2015”, and “Human Trafficking along the Central Mediterranean Route”on VOTs from Nigeria arriving via sea to Italy from North Africa. Report on victims of trafficking in mixed migration flows arriving in Italy by sea April 2014 - October 2015
This EU/EC report, “Organisation of Migration and Asylum System in Italy Overview” provides an overview of how the migration and asylum system in Italy is organized.
Relevant National Legislation and Policies
All 15 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member states and Chad, Libya, and Mauritania: nationals require a visa and a valid travel document whose expiration date is three months longer than that of the visa requested.
Visa exempted: all European Union (EU) and Swiss nationals UK: exempted; As of December 31, 2020, the rules on travel will stay the same.
For third countries please refer to Schengen Visa Info
In addition to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, Italy has ratified the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (both ratified in 2006). Italy is also party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child including its Optional Protocols on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and on a Communications Procedure (ratified in 1991, 2002 respectively), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol (ratified in 1985 and 2002 respectively), as well as the following conventions elaborated under the International Labour Organization (ILO): Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (No. 182) and Domestic Workers Convention (No. 189). Italy is also party to a number of Council of Europe conventions in the criminal field which are relevant to action against TIP.
Italy is bound by the EU instruments on action against trafficking in human beings, in particular Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of April 5, 2011 on preventing and combatting trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, Council Directive 2004/81/EC of April 29, 2004 on the residence permit issued to third-country nationals who are victims of trafficking in human beings or who have been the subject of an action to facilitate illegal immigration, who cooperate with the competent authorities, Council Directive 2004/80/ EC of April 29, 2004 relating to compensation to crime victims, and Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA of March 15, 2001 on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings.
AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL: The national legal framework in the field of action against TIP has evolved over the years in the light of Italy’s international obligations
Provisions concerning victims of TIP were introduced in the aliens’ legislation in 1998 through Legislative Decree No. 286/1998,* Article 18, which recognizes the right of the victim who tries to escape exploitation to receive a residence permit (even without reporting the traffickers). The residence permit lasts six months, is renewable, and gives the right to work and study. Moreover, victims have access to the protection system, which is funded by the Italian Minister for Equal Opportunities and Family and managed by NGOs at the regional level.
In 2003, Law No. 228/2003 on “Measures against trafficking in persons” introduced amendments to the Criminal Code, in particular Article 600 (“Placing or holding a person in condition of slavery or servitude”), Article 601 (“Trafficking in persons”) and Article 602 (“Purchase and sale of slaves”), in line with the Palermo Protocol.
Law No. 108/2010 on “Ratification and implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on action against trafficking in human beings and provisions adjusting domestic law” and Law No. 172/2012 on “Ratification of the Council of Europe Convention for the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse and provisions adjusting domestic law” led to further amendments of the Criminal Code.
On 28 March 2014, Legislative Decree No. 24/2014.** Transposing Directive 2011/36/EU entered into force. The Legislative Decree No. 24/2014 provides, inter alia, for amendments to Articles 600 and 601 of the Criminal Code, the adoption of a national anti-trafficking action plan, the setting up of a State compensation fund for victims of TIP, and improved assistance to, and protection of, victims of trafficking.
Other internal legal acts relating to action against TIP include:
Decree No. 394/1999 of the President of the Republic regulating the implementation of the Consolidated Immigration Act, which established an inter-ministerial commission responsible for implementing social protection projects for victims of TIP.
Since 1998, Italy provides all victims of violence or severe exploitation whose safety is endangered with a long-term programme of assistance and social integration, including a special residence permit, without requiring the victim’s cooperation in criminal proceedings (Article 18, Consolidated Immigration Act). This approach is recognized as a best practice in the field, though a victims-centered approach remains a goal rather than rule. Moreover, in compliance with EU Directive No. 52/2009, third-country nationals illegally employed in exploitative conditions are issued a special residence permit if they make a complaint and cooperate in the related criminal proceeding (Article 22, paragraph 12 of the Consolidated Immigration Act).
*Legislative Decree No. 286/1998 on “Consolidated text of provisions regulating immigration and the rules relating to the status of foreign nationals,” hereafter “Consolidated Immigration Act”
**Legislative Decree No. 24 of March 4, 2014 laying down the transposition of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of April 5, 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA.
Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR): Directive 2008/115/EC of the European Parliament and Council of December 16, 2008 establishing common regulations and procedures applicable in the EU Member States for the return of irregularly staying third-country nationals was adopted in Italy by Law No. 129/2011 of August 2, 2011. The latter introduced AVRR to the Italian set of rules on migration.
Labour exploitation: The national legal framework against labour exploitation has evolved over the years in light of Italy’s obligations under international law. Italy prohibits slavery (Article 600 of the Criminal Code) and trafficking (Article 601 of the Criminal Code) as defined at the international level. In 2016, Law No. 199 criminalized labour exploitation as a stand-alone offence. In particular, Article 603 bis of the Criminal Code envisages the prosecution of whoever directly employs or recruits workers for third parties under exploitative conditions. The provision includes some indicators for identifying cases of labour exploitation.
Legal assistance and victim’s compensation
REGARDING LEGAL ASSISTANCE
Legal support is available for VOTs who ask for support.
As stated in the legislation section above, a residence permit for VOTs who are at immediate risk of retaliation from traffickers could be released according to the Consolidated Immigration Act following one of two paths:
Judicial path: if the victim is willing to press charges against the traffickers and the judge considers the declarations genuine
Social path: if the victim does not want to press charges against the traffickers and is assisted by social services or an NGO Victims are at immediate risk of retaliation due to the will to escape from the traffickers.
RESIDENCE PERMIT FOR VOTS:
Six months, renewable for one year or more • Released only if the victim adheres to a protection and integration programme (withdrawn if the victim leaves the program)
Permits work and enrollment in the school system (including vocational training)
Ensures the right to access the National Health System
Can be modified into a residence permit for study or work, conditions permitted
The recovery and reflection period provided for under the EU Convention is still not expressly laid down in Italian law. According to Italian authorities, the “special support programme” under Article 13 of Law No. 228/2003 on “Measures against trafficking in persons” fulfils the purpose of the recovery and reflection period, as assistance is provided to victims regardless of their cooperation with the investigation for a period of three months, which may be extended by an additional three months.
Special protective measures for children: The legal assistance was provided by IOM at points of entry and is provided by the different actors managing the reception services. Legal assistance is provided to children, if they are unaccompanied; they are always appointed with a legal guardian.
REGARDING VICTIM’S COMPENSATION
According to Legislative Decree No. 24/2014, VOTs are entitled to receive economic compensation if the traffickers are condemned. Victims of TIP may file a request for compensation from the perpetrator during the criminal procedure by bringing a civil action pursuant to Articles 74 and 75 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The judge can decide on the amount of compensation due, rule that the victim has a right to compensation without fixing the precise amount, or fix the amount of an advance payment to be made to the victim. In the latter two cases, the victim has to bring a civil action to obtain a decision on the final amount