Transnational work in progress on trafficking of human beings (THB) between Italy and Sweden

On February 7th 2020, SSIIM Unesco Chair organized at the University IUAV of Venice the seminar “The System of protection and prevention of people victims of trafficking in Sweden: a comparison with Italy”. Isabelle Johansson – who is part of the the INSigHT Research Team, based in Sweden and carrying out research there on the prevention/protection system – shared her on-going research in Sweden and Malmo. The aim of the Seminar was to present to local Italian stakeholders the characteristics of the Swedish anti-trafficking system and to discuss with them its strengths and weaknesses, also in comparison with their experience on the field in Italy.

The seminar was attended by several social operators of the N.A.Ve project – the anti-trafficking project of the Veneto Region – and also by members of organizations based in other Italian regions and engaged in anti-trafficking and sex-workers assistance. Some researchers working on THB studies also joined and fruitfully contributed to the debate. The seminar represented a first important step in the process of increasing scope for international cooperation between anti-trafficking stakeholders in Italy and Sweden, often interconnected in the intra-European mobility trajectories of victims of trafficking.

Characteristics and impacts of the anti-trafficking policies and approaches in the two countries were discussed and compared. Isabelle Johansson firstly presented how the anti-trafficking system in Sweden is structured, and who are the main stakeholders engaged in the identification/protection of victims there. She then presented some recent cases concerning Nigerian women sent back to Italy as effect of the Dublin Treaty, and thus managed in collaboration with the Dublin Unit and Italian institutions. These cases were particularly useful for local stakeholders to understand how the identification, the assistance process and the international cooperation works in practice, and to brainstorm with the Swedish researcher on possible strategies to improve it.

The dialogue initiated will continue in March, with a workshop INSigHT is organizing in Malmo to which both the italian INSigHT Research Team and representatives sent by Equality ATI will contribute, with the aim to promote a transnational exchange of practices among social workers and anti-trafficking operators.