The International Organization for Migration has posted a new report on human trafficking. The number of victims has increased by 600 percent in the last two years- most of them being minors. It is destined to be a nightmare.
By Francesca Siron
The complaints are very few. Only 78, of almost 70,000 victims are identified.
Demonstration of “the immense courage that girls have to complain about: often they are against their own family while they are alone in a foreign country, relying on operators they have just met”. This is reported by Carlotta Santarossa from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), who is responsible for the latest trafficking report, people brought to Europe through the refugee route in the central Mediterranean to become slaves. In this case, goods for the sex market.
For the past two years, the organization – and Espresso, with various surveys – reports the alarm concerning the rise of young women, especially Nigerians, who are landing in southern Italy, explaining that there is a high probability that their fate is nothing but sexual exploitation. The numbers continue to increase. Potential victims – identified as such according to a series of indicators – were in 2016 8,277. In the 2014/15 they did not reach 3,400. In more than 6,500 cases, they have been identified as such. Only 78, in fact, have denounced.
The reason that they have lost the power to speak, the possibility to complain, And it’s not just the debt of the trip, the loan that is on almost every girl. “There is often a lack of awareness. They struggle to perceive themselves as victims. And not only. In more and more cases, they have only found out exactly what sex is, “Santarossa continues:” Because they are too young. And this is one of the most worrying elements of year to year: age. ”
Girls who land to be trapped around Italy and Europe as prostitutes, have in fact passed from being young adults to arriving in Italy still underage. Teenagers even 12 or 13 years old, convinced of starting and selling hours on the road. About 290 victims reported to the authorities or referred to a form of assistance in 2016, 164 were underage. On the 135 reported to the antitrust network, 87 were not 18 years old. This is the history of Precious, 17 year-old, Nigerian. In the spring of 2016, the police saw her on the streets in Sicily. She is very young. But in the police station she says that she is 21 years old and that she wants to reach the sister. She is afraid. The agents find her fingerprints on the database: she landed five months before, and she is minor. The public prosecutor’s office contacts the IOM, who meet her in a heavily guarded compound. She still wears the red wing and tight clothes that someone has given her to work on the street. The operators tell to her the history of a girl like her, brought to turn tricks to settle their debt. Precious confides in them. She never had sex before then. She was forced to the street for 12 hours a day. She is afraid of becoming sick, of the ritual, of her acquaintances. The IOM meet with her every day for a month. She can’t sleep, she tries to run away to get back to the traffickers, sometimes she think she’s dying. <>, notes the operator that follows his history. At the end, she finds the courage to report. Today, she lives in a protected shelter, she speaks Italian and is studying to become a cultural mediator. This is the hope that Santarossa wants to emphasize: <>. The alerts from the shelters have increased, when it’s clear that’s something wrong. The associations try to train and take action in time. But often the concrete alternatives, or the places in the specialized shelters are missing. For this reason the attention must be increased. Because to do nothing to protect these girls, is like to be accomplices.