Anti-trafficking interventions in Italy (Veneto Region) at the time of COVID-19

These months of “suspension” from everyday life and routines, in which the lives of all of us have been affected by the enforcement of the lockdown, have had a particularly strong impact on the most marginal groups and individuals of the society, including particularly people who are victims or potential victims of sexual and labour exploitation.

In order to raise awareness among professionals, policy-makers as well as the wider public, the Italian researchers of the INSigHT Research Team, in collaboration with the partner-colleagues of Equality ATI, have written article, which has just been published in the  onlineJournal In-genere.

The main scope of the article is to share good practices regarding the re-organisation of the Veneto Region N.A.Ve anti-trafficking project, aimed at ensuring a continuous monitoring of sexual and labor exploitation and the provision of adequate support to beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries during the pandemic.

The article describes how the lives of the N.A.Ve beneficiaries and of people victims of sexual and labour exploitation in the Veneto Region have been impacted, starting with the disappearence of people from the streets, particularly of Nigerian women and girls. It also describes how the N.A.Veactions have been re-designed in order to address the challenges of the pandemic. Actions have been reformulated in “steps”: street units have established contacts with prostitutes via telephone and through prostitution and escort websites; evalutation and inclusion units have organised online meetings with beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries to address their needs and monitor their physical and emotional well-being.

Online interactions have proved harder, in some instances, but smoother in others. Various elements for reflection have emerged accordingly, particularly with regard to the use of social media and online platforms and with regard to the monitoring of prostitution websites, which had been done only to a limited extext so far – due to limited resources.

Direct contacts with victims and potential victims of exploitation has also been possible thanks to the activation of food delivery to people who called for help after having found themselves without economic resources. Food delivery has been precious to cope with their primary needs, but also to familiarise with their domestic spaces.

It is spaces that normally are not accessible and yet are often sites of further exploitation. Interestingly the pandemic has catalysed the opportunity to rethink some anti-trafficking interventions and to promote new creative solutions to improve prevention and protection activities targeted to people who are victims and potential victims of sexual and labour exoploitation, in face of the constant evolution of the phenomenon of trafficking, sexual and even more labour exploitation.

The latter has been growing considerably more evident in the latest years and even more in the latest months, as people who were working in the informal economy were stranded without a job. The full article, in Italian, is available at the following link: