Vanessa Tullo - Italy
Thank you so much for inviting me and for organizing this always-amazing meeting. In 2015, 5000 Nigerian girls were identified at Italy’s borders. 1000 of them were minors, who in many cases disappeared during this last year and, probably, got caught in the nets of human trafficking, but just 800 victims have been assisted by Italian assistance since then.
Starting from this data, this proposal tackles three main problematic issues in Italy: the lack of an effective referral and rescuing system, the shortage of shelters and the lack of an effective integration plan for assisted victims. The project is developed on three layers of action focused, as a first objective, on enhancing capacities of local actors in referring and rescuing victims of trafficking and potential victims of trafficking, such as vulnerable migrants. Secondly, supporting the National Hotline Service that, for the moment, just provides general information. This support can be given by integrating the present system with new IT tools, such as an online inventory that, for example, already exists in Egypt. It is a kind of online platform where NGOs, operators and victims can have contacts and stay in contact and quickly communicate. Thirdly, a smartphone app, easily accessible for trafficked victims. This kind of system will create an NGOs and shelters network able to rapidly respond to victims needs.
The second objective is to enhance capacities of NGOs located in Italy in assisting victims through capacity-building activities for NGOs already working on gender issues, in order to skill them to manage trafficking cases. For example, what I'm doing with IOM Maroc, in Morocco, is exactly that. So, trying to use, in a positive way, what we have already in the field, to build capacity and have an always effective and timely response to the specific needs.
The third objective is to improve livelihood conditions of assisted victims of trafficking, through regular psychological support and an adequate professional training or IGA, so income-generating activities training, in order to make them independent also from an economic point of view, wherever they freely decide to live: in Europe, in their country of origin or in a third country. Of course, to achieve these goals it is necessary to rely on the strong political will of the Italian Government, and the European Government as well, to consider human trafficking as a crime against humanity, rather than a simple political issue linked to migration. However, we can still act against human trafficking, and through simple project like this, with low budgets and within a reasonable time span, it is concretely possible to save thousands of lives not just in Italy but across Europe.