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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                            

Italian Republic (Italy)

Italy has a diversified industrial economy, which is divided into a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less-developed, welfare-dependent, agricultural south, with high unemployment. The Italian economy is driven in large part by the manufacture of high-quality consumer goods produced by small and medium-sized enterprises. Italy also has a sizable underground economy, which by some estimates accounts for as much as 15% of GDP. These activities are most common within the agriculture, construction, and service sectors.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Italy

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Italy.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of child prostitution are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got started, how they survive, and how some succeed in leaving.  Perhaps your paper could focus on runaways and the abuse that led to their leaving.  Other factors of interest might be poverty, rejection, drug dependence, coercion, violence, addiction, hunger, neglect, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the manipulative and dangerous adults who control this activity.  There is a lot to the subject of Child Prostitution.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


6,000 children smuggled to the west each year for sex

Philip Willan in Rome, The Guardian, 12 July 2002

[accessed 15 February 2011]

Researchers have identified north-eastern Italy as a key sorting centre for girls from eastern Europe who are either sold by their parents, kidnapped by organised crime gangs, or lured abroad by the mirage of a better life.

There is a particularly high concentration of juvenile sex slaves in the area between Padua and Venice, with 20% of prostitutes under the age of 18, compared to 5% in other Italian cities, the charity said.  Last year 250 girls managed to escape from their exploiters and seek assistance from the Italian state.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Runaways - Where To Turn For Help Before You Are Homeless

Rebeccas Community -- This is for anyone aged up to 13 years old who is thinking about running away

[accessed 1 June 2011]

Here are the best phone numbers to call …They are Confidential - which means they won't tell anyone about your call unless you want them to talk to somebody for you, or you are in danger.  They are open 24 hours - it doesn't matter what time you call.  In Italy, call 030/226363 – 2420845

ECPAT Country Overview - A report on the scale, scope and context of the sexual exploitation of children [PDF]

Andrea Varrella, ECPAT International, February 2019

[accessed 31 August 2020]

Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Italy. The overview gathers existing publicly available information on sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT), online child sexual exploitation (OCSE), trafficking of children for sexual purposes, sexual exploitation of children through prostitution, child early and forced marriage (CEFM) and identifies gaps, research needs, and recommendations.

Human Rights Reports » 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 10, 2020

[accessed 31 August 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - Authorities enforced laws prohibiting sexual exploitation, the sale of children, offering or procuring a child for prostitution, and practices related to child pornography. Independent observers and the government estimated at least 5,000 foreign minors were victims of sexual exploitation. On April 3, a Bari court convicted two men respectively to six year and six months and five years and six months in prison for exploiting at least four minors as sex workers between 2010 and 2017. According to the Department of Equal Opportunity, the number of assisted minor victims of trafficking increased from 199 in 2017 to 215 in 2018.

There were reports of child pornography. On June 21, the Postal Police (under the National Police) announced an operation conducted in 10 regions to dismantle a network responsible for exchanging and selling pornographic material showing minors online and using two WhatsApp groups to entice new victims. Authorities investigated 51 persons. In 2018 Postal Police reported 532 persons allegedly involved in child sexual abuse or sexual exploitation, of whom 43 were arrested.

Save the Children Italy reported 263 minors were victims of labor exploitation and approximately 2,210 minors were victims of child trafficking, mostly for sexual exploitation, in five of the country’s 20 regions.

The minimum age for consensual sex is 14 or 13 if the partner is under the age of 18 and the age gap is less than three years.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 31 January 2003

[accessed 14 February 2011]

[37] The Committee welcomes the establishment of a National Commission for the coordination of action regarding maltreatment, abuse and sexual exploitation of children and the adoption of a global strategy.

[49] The Committee welcomes the adoption of Act 269/98 against the exploitation of prostitution, pornography, and sexual tourism targeting children and the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Coordination of the Government Action Against Child Abuse and Trafficking in Minors and Women for Sexual Purposes. Nevertheless, the Committee remains concerned at the numbers of children who are trafficked for sexual purposes in the State party.

Italian police break up child prostitution network

Radio Nederland Wereldomroep RNW News, Rome, 15 January 2008

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 2 June 2011]

Italian police have made scores of arrests and rolled up a child prostitution network. Fifty-one people were arrested in Italy and 15 in other countries, mainly the Netherlands. They are accused of human trafficking, exploitation and kidnapping. In Nigeria, Nigerian women took very young children from orphanages to work in the drug trade and as prostitutes. The children are also believed to have been taken from asylum centres in the Netherlands. The police operation began in October 2007 when, at the request of the Dutch government, 22 Nigerians were detained in Nigeria, various European countries and the US.

Five Years After Stockholm [PDF]

ECPAT: Fifth Report on implementation of the Agenda for Action

ECPAT International, November 2001

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[B] COUNTRY UPDATES – ITALYItaly’s national plan has facilitated a discussion among ministries about how to tackle CSEC. The Ministry of Social Solidarity has formed an inter-ministerial commission to work on the issue. The commission includes UNICEF, and NGOs such as ECPAT Italy.  The trafficking of young Albanian girls for sexual slavery is an on-going problem in Italy.  The victims usually work at night on the street. Unfortunately, as a report on child trafficking from Save the Children in Albania states, there is “little coordination between the many organizations that help them”. Nevertheless, the government has established a free hotline for women and girls who are trying to escape sexual slavery and social reintegration programs are also being implemented.

Italy's Sex Trade Pulls Teens Pushed by Poverty

Stephan Faris, Womens enews WEnews, August 15, 2002

[accessed 2 June 2011]

Sex Trafficking of Girls Is a 'Family Issue' - Often it is a girl's parent who seeks out a trafficker and requests that she be sent to Italy, she explains.  As a foreign prostitute, a girl can make far more than Nigeria's average income of less than a dollar a day; and though she may have to pay as much as $50,000 to the madam who sends for her, everything she earns after that is hers to keep or send home.  Nigerian girls are seen as "dispensable"

Country Information Italy

Terre des Hommes via its Internet platform against sexual exploitation of children in tourism

[accessed 2 June 2011]

COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN IN TOURISM - it is the introduction in the prostitution market of underage girls coming from Albania and from other Eastern European countries, who were smuggled illegally through Italian borders by criminal groups, mostly composed of Albanian citizens.  A recent study has shown that 20,000 prostitutes are present in Italy, of which 2,000 are under age.  Other studies report 1000 registered under-age prostitutes in Rome alone.

Child Prostitution

Shadow Villanueva, Founder- Darkness Against Child Abuse

[accessed 2 June 2011]

FEBRUARY 2000 - US Dept of State report says that prior to 1999, of the 2,500 child street prostitutes in Italy, an estimated 2,000 of those were abducted from Albania and Nigeria.  A CATW fact book challenges the numbers and says that more than 8,000 Albanian girls work as prostitutes in Italy.

World News Snapshots

Assembled by Frank L. Fitzpatrick, The Survivor Activist, the newsletter of Survivor Connections, Inc

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 2 June 2011]

ITALY - Milan, 11/1997 - CHINESE CHILDREN SOLD FOR SEX THROUGH ITALY - A couple has been charged with posing as the parents of a twelve-year-old girl that they were bringing through Italy as a way station to her sale as a child prostitute. Prosecutors believe there is a ring of sex-trafficking in Italy, using the same modus operandi for Chinese children. Indictments against three Italians and three Japanese participants are anticipated.




ECPAT Global Monitoring Report on the status of action against commercial exploitation of children - ITALY [PDF]

ECPAT International, 2006

[accessed 2 June 2011]

Poverty and socio-economic disadvantage are strong causal factors associated with the prostitution of children in Italy. But Italian children also take part in occasional exchanges of sexual services for money in response to marketing and social pressures to consume, and to reduce whatever feelings of material deprivation these create. According to the police, no criminal organisations are currently involved in the exploitation of Italian children for the purposes of exploitation in paedophile or prostitution rings; as such, the so-called ‘voluntary’ involvement of young people in sexual exploitation is a new challenge yet to be properly exposed and eliminated.

Italy is a country of destination and of transit for girls trafficked for sexual purposes mainly from Nigeria and eastern European countries such as Albania, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria and Ukraine. Very often they are deceived with promises of well-paid jobs and forced into prostitution by criminal groups on arrival. Prostitution occurs mainly on the streets, in the case of Nigerian girls, and in flats, in the case of girls from other countries (rarely in night clubs). To prevent detection by the authorities, most exploiters keep moving the girls to other parts of town or to different towns. They also ‘sell’ or ‘rent’ them to other exploiters.

The prostitution of boys of foreign origin also occurs in the country. It occurs mainly outdoors, especially in railway stations, and usually involves 13 to 17 year-old boys, mostly Romanians from the Roma community, but also a minority from North Africa, the Balkans and Albania. Although apparently widespread, this particular manifestation of the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is very much overlooked by the authorities and child rights organisations. Lack of recognition of the problem may be explained by the fact that most of the boys arrive in Italy unaccompanied and seeking employment, rather than as trafficked children or children who have fallen victim to sex rings or pimps.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 9 February 2020]

CHILDREN - NGOs estimated that 8 to 10 percent of prostitutes were minors. An independent research center estimated that there were between 1,800 and 3,000 minors who worked as street prostitutes, of whom 1,500 to 2,300 were trafficked into the country and forced into prostitution.

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