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Reception systems for victims of trafficking seeking asylum in Italy

In Italy, asylum seekers victims of trafficking may be accommodated within the Protection System for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (SPRAR) dedicated to vulnerable people or they can also have access to social protection programmes for victims of trafficking. According to the article 17 of the Legislative Decree 142/2015, reception conditions need to take into account specific needs of vulnerable asylum seekers, including victims of trafficking.

Therefore, the SPRAR system offers specific places for vulnerable asylum seekers, including victims of trafficking. Its objective is the empowerment of the beneficiaries. For each beneficiary a specific individual project is designed based on available emotional, physical and mental resources of the person. The individual project is implemented by a multidisciplinary team that collaborates and must ensure good coordination with local stakeholders and services in order to promote the social inclusion of beneficiaries.

 

When it regards specifically victims of trafficking, the SPRAR system must ensure coordination with social protection programmes described below. Beneficiaries shall receive support from a linguistic mediator and assistance to access social, health and educational services. However, there are currently no sufficient places, all the more since Italy is witnessing an increase in the number of newly arrived migrants to accommodate. The later tend to be accommodated in SPRAR reception centres not to be left without accommodation. Consequently, in many cases victims of trafficking are accommodated in normal reception centres (CARA or CAS) which do not allow meeting specific needs of victims of trafficking. Despite the regrettable lack of places, the system in itself is adequate and demonstrates that tailored reception and protection systems for victims of trafficking seeking asylum can be set up.

 

On the other hand, asylum seekers victim of trafficking may benefit from the social protection programmes foreseen for victims of trafficking. Up to May 2016, there were two sorts of social protection programmes, both funded by the Government and local authorities (regions and municipalities). The first establishes special funds to implement short term protection programmes (three months renewable for another three months) that aim at identifying and protecting victims while the second form of social protection programmes provides victims of trafficking with a residence permit of six months (renewable for another six month-period) favouring psycho-social recovery, trust building and eventually possible future judicial cooperation. In May 2016, a Decree from the Italian Prime minister defined the establishment of a unique programme of identification, assistance and social inclusion of people victim of trafficking.

 

The programme is implemented through local projects throughout Italy and aims at ensuring temporary protection (accommodation and health/social/psychological assistance) and then at guaranteeing assistance and social inclusion activities on the longer run. The possibility given to victims of trafficking seeking asylum to benefit from social protection programmes is seen as a good practice that gives them the opportunity to be effectively supported as victims of trafficking without prejudice to the exercise of their right to asylum.