Corruption and trafficking in women. The case of Italy.

This report analyses both recent and more established trends in the relationship between human trafficking and corruption in Italy, starting from an overall and empirical assessment of the trafficking business, and of its relationship with corruption. The analysis draws on both crime and judicial statistics, which also include information on offenders and victims of sexual exploitation (2007-2013). The statistical analysis is combined with evidence collected through the Human Trafficking and Corruption (HTC) database, which provides information about 54 events related to corruption and human trafficking in Italy from 2000 to 2015, including data about the actors involved and their characteristics, the modalities and resources of corruption exchanges between traffickers and public officials. The examination of the cases is triangulated with in-depth information gathered through interviews of experts and victims. Data collected for this study bring some counterintuitive findings for the analysis of the link between corruption and trafficking in destination countries. In fact, as opposed to the hypotheses proposed in the literature, corruption is not such a pivotal factor in the development of human trafficking in Italy. The sporadic enforcement of immigration and work regulations in the country makes corruption a limited occurrence in comparison to the size of the prostitution market. However, some emerging trends show an increased role of corruption in the organisation of prostitution in Italy. First, there is significant evidence that human smuggling tends to be transformed into trafficking when smuggled migrants having reached Italy are not properly protected by receiving authorities in immigration centres. The creation of large immigration centres, the outsourcing of control and detention functions to private companies, and the substantial lack of public supervision and monitoring over their activities have opened new opportunities for the trafficking business and for concealing corruption offences. Second, data show that the marginalisation and concentration of foreign minorities in some parts of the countries has favoured the development of trafficking for sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of other forms of organised exploitation, such as forced labour. Third, private actors are progressively playing a more pivotal role in the corruption exchanges with traffickers. As far as Italian mafia-like groups are concerned, they do not generally seem to engage directly in trafficking in persons but collaborate with traffickers indirectly, especially by offering illegal protection under the payment of a racket fee. Therefore, foreign and transnational criminal groups more likely create and manage human trafficking networks for sexual exploitation.

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