Human trafficking in Italy

According to the Italian Ministry of the Interior, human trafficking is the third largest source of income for criminal organisations, after arms and drug trafficking. The Italian legislation on combatting trafficking in human beings is based on Law No 228 of 11 August 2003, entitled ‘Measures against trafficking in persons’ and on Article 18 of Legislative Decree 286 of 1998 (Consolidated Immigration Act).

The protection provided by the law is based on two different phases: the first reception and reflection period and the period of social protection. The latter aims to improve socio-occupational inclusion in Italy or, where possible, in the country of origin. The first reception and reflection period is regulated by Article 13 of Law 228-2003, which establishes a special assistance programme for victims of trafficking and exploitation, guaranteeing adequate accommodation, food, health and psychological assistance on a transitional basis.

The actual protection of victims is instead linked to the issuance of a special residence permit, provided for in Article 18 of Legislative Decree 286-98, which represents an advanced model in this area as it is not tied to the victim’s cooperation in criminal proceedings against traffickers or exploiters.

The Italian system abides by and promotes internationally recognised guiding principles, including the principle of autonomy of the victim, who through an individualised assistance and development programme is supported to lead an independent life.

The Single programme of detection, assistance and social integration defined by the Prime Ministerial Decree of 16 May 2016 states that the Anti-Trafficking Projects carry out protection and assistance activities, including: 

  • contact, detection and protection of the person, taking into account the recovery and reflection period; 
  • health assistance and health promotion, facilitating access to the public health system 
  • legal and socio-legal assistance to support the individual file a crime report and regularisation procedures; 
  • first assistance to prepare for social inclusion; 
  • second reception focused on vocational training and finding a job;
  • developing independence to facilitate social inclusion, finding a job and housing autonomy; 
  • monitoring and verification of social inclusion.