A Conference on trafficking of women and children from Nigeria to Italy took place today at the Headquarters of the Italian Society for International Organizations (SIOI), located in Rome.
During the conference the results of the programme "Prevention and Combating Trafficking of Minors and Young Women from Nigeria into Italy,” were presented. This programme was implemented by UNICRI (United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute) and funded by the Directorate General for Development Cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. UNICRI has previously undertaken a number of initiatives to prevent and combat trafficking of persons from Nigeria into Italy through a pilot project launched in 2002. This was then followed up by the current programme, started in 2008.
The current programme adopted a multidisciplinary strategy, entailing measures to prevent and counter trafficking, as well as to assist victims in Nigeria. Human trafficking, in particular trafficking of minors and young women for the purpose of sexual exploitation, has become one of the main illegal markets worldwide. Italy, not only a destination country but also a transit country, is located at the crossroads of two large-scale migration flows, the East-West axis as well as the North-South axis.
According to data from the Italian Department of Equal Opportunity, 54,559 victims of trafficking contacted and were linked to social services between 2000 and 2007. Last year, more than 2,670 calls were received by the hotline established by the Ministry to assist the victims.
Nigeria is among the main countries of origin of this global problem. More than 60% of women trafficked into Italy for sexual exploitation is Nigerian. According to the research of UNICRI, an exploited Nigerian woman in the hands of criminal networks can yield up to 5,000 euros per month. If she wants to free herself from the debt contracted with traffickers, she must pay an average of 50 to 60,000 euros.
Issues confronted at the conference included the extreme ease with which criminal groups adapt to the ever changing globalized international environment, as well as their promptness and dynamism in establishing contacts with criminal groups in other countries. Therefore, the fight against this problem requires similar flexibility by States. Collaboration amongst law enforcement authorities, police and intelligence agencies across borders is necessary in order to be able to effectively prevent and combat this phenomenon which very often has a transnational dimension.
During the Conference research conducted by Parsec as well as a video on victims of trafficking, by the journalist Dania Cossa, were presented.
The conference was attended by representatives of NAPTIP, the Nigerian National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons that has played a crucial role in the implementation of the programme. Among the participants to the meeting were also the Deputy General Director of the General Directorate for the Italian Development Cooperation, Plenipotentiary Minister Mr. Mario Sammartino; the Counselor of the Ministry for Equal Opportunities, Ms. Simonetta Matone; the Executive Secretary of NAPTIP, Mr. Simon Chuzi Egede; and the Procurator of the Italian National Directorate Anti-Mafia, Mr. Giusto Sciacchitano.