Human trafficking has been explicitly condemned by our legal code since 2003, year in which law 228 came into effect.
Through this law, articles 600, 601 and 602 of the criminal code, which already dealt with slavery, have been modified.
The cases dealt with have been expanded with the 2014 legislative decree 24, which dealt also with victim compensation.
The merit for introducing a precise and organic legislation concerning human trafficking goes to the actualization of European law, made up of two normative writings: the 2002/629 framework decision and the 2011/36 directive.
The legislation in the criminal code
The legislator’s aim was to introduce new legal instructions, and modifying the already present ones, to fight the slavery phenomenon resulting from human trafficking.
In particular, it is a new form of slavery concerning human beings coming from poor countries, who are forced into prostitution, forced labor and begging.
The core of the criminal regulation is found in articles 600, 601 and 602, respectively indexed as: “reduction into, or retention of, slavery and servitude”, “human trafficking” and “buying and alienating slaves”.
Article 600 of the criminal code punishes anyone who enslaves a person with imprisonment ranging from 8 up to 20 years.
The analogy with property rights is both interesting and pragmatic: enslaving is meant as the exercise upon a person of the powers corresponding to property rights.
In 2014 coercion into carrying out illicit activities involving exploitation, such as organ harvesting, has been added to the cases considered in the normative laws.
For what concerns the trafficker, or supposed trafficker, to be considered as such the following conditions are necessary: threatening, violence, deception, abuse of authority or exploitation of physical or psychological inferiority or of a situation of need; the promise or giving of amounts of money or of other advantages to the ones who have authority over the person.
Article 601 of the criminal code condemns human trafficking with imprisonment ranging from 8 up to 20 years.
This article specifically describes the situations the norms apply to by giving specific requirements. This specificity ceases to be required in the case of trafficking of minors, in which the person trafficking minors can be charged with human trafficking.
Article 602 of the criminal code deals with the buying and alienation of slaves. This is a residual norm. it is only applied in the cases that are not covered by article 601.
The crime occurs whenever the buying, alienation or selling of a person in a state of enslavement or servitude, as defined in article 600 of the criminal code, takes place. The punishment ranges from 8 to 20 years.
It was unavoidable for the legislator to expand what prescribed by article 416 of the criminal code on criminal conspiracy, by stating that whenever conspiracy is aimed at committing any of the crimes described in article 600, 601 and 602 imprisonment ranging from 5 to 15 years is applied.
The 2003 Law 228 also legislates on crime prevention and victims assistance.
In particular, the anti-trafficking fund was established by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.
This fund provides financing for assistance and social integration programs aimed at the victims of these crimes and at other goals of social protection.
Furthermore, the law calls for the establishment of a special program of victims assistance for the victims of the crimes of reduction into, or retention of, slavery and servitude or human trafficking, in order to ensure adequate standards of housing, food and health assistance.
Finally, it dictates special policies of cooperation with the countries affected by these crimes, to be carried out by a section of the ministry of foreign affairs, by organizing international meetings and awareness campaigns even within the countries where most of human trafficking victims come from.