by Amanda Kloer
Italian law enforcement agents are patting themselves on the back today after busting a huge country-wide and international human trafficking ring. Police have arrested 17 men on charges of human trafficking and aiding illegal immigration.
This particular trafficking ring brought men from Asia, primarily Bangladesh and Pakistan, into Italy to work in agriculture. The men had to pay 10,000 Euros to their captors in order to be smuggled into the country and placed in a agricultural job. Afterwards, they found they had a debt which could not be paid off.
This story is a great example of how sometimes international trafficking rings are highly specialized, moving people from one country into one country to work in one industry. A specialized criminal enterprise such as this one can be easier to operate, because you can perfect your techniques and pay off a minimal number of corrupt officials in order to succeed. It’s also important to keep in mind that several human trafficking operations can be taking place in the same country at the same time. If they move in different industries, they may not know about each other. Apparently, this ring was operating for years. Here are some of the other, unrelated operations which existed simultaneously:
- Women and girls from Albania were brought in to Italy via boat and trafficked into commercial sex.
- Nigerian women were brought in via Spain and trafficked into Italian brothels and private homes as domestic servants.
- Chinese men and women were trafficked in Italy in forded labor.
- Roma children were trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced begging.
The kicker is, Italy actually has it’s act together as a country and is identifying and prosecuting trafficking. And if all these unrelated trafficking rings can operate in a wealthy, educated, politically motivated country like Italy, just think what they can do in poor countries like Bangladesh and Bolivia. Or developing countries like Honduras and Namibia. Or dictatorial countries like Burma and North Korea. This list of co-occuring trafficking rings would be much longer.
National political will, national resources, and training and education for law enforcement remain some of the best tools we have for combating trafficking. Congratulations to Italy for their recent success.