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Phlegethon
Friday, September 12th, 2003, 02:49 PM
New danger for Italy's foreign prostitutes



By Tamsin Smith
BBC, Rome
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For the last 50 years, prostitution on Italy's streets has been legal.


From the big city suburbs, to the coastal motorways to the Tuscan countryside, Italy's 80,000 prostitutes are more visible than anywhere else in Europe, lining the roadsides even in daylight.

Italian Interior Ministry and police figures estimate that 45% of Italian men visit prostitutes at least once a year.


This week saw the start of a debate on a new law designed to make street prostitution a criminal offence.

Forcing prostitution behind closed doors, into rented apartments where it will still be tolerated may improve the appearance of Italy's streets, but will it force the prostitutes - the majority of whom are immigrants - further into the arms of the criminal underworld?

Threats

"On 4 October 2002 a man brought me from Romania to Italy," says Helena, a slight 17-year-old, with an empty expression and bruises on her arms and chest which she tries to cover as she talks to me.

"He told me I had a job as a cleaner but he shut me in a house and took my passport.

"Then he and others beat me and raped me until I agreed to work on the streets. They said if I didn't do it they would kill my family."

"We had one tiny room for five people, three girls in one big bed and two on the floor, it was hot - it was awful. Every night we had to go out to work on the streets."

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Last week, the police rescued Helena and five other girls from the flat they had been kept in by their traffickers for over a year. Now the girls live in a safehouse in a northern suburb of Rome.

The house is decorated with cheerful prints and posters to give the girls a sense of security after their recent experiences.

Sister Erma, who runs the house, worries that the new prostitution law currently being debated would reduce the chance of girls like Helena being rescued as they would be forced indoors, off the street.

"When girls are on the streets they can meet volunteer organisations and the police, but if they are kept captive and shut up in houses there is no possibility to meet people and it is much more difficult to escape from prostitution," she says.

Law-and-order issue

Every night Helena and the other girls were taken by their traffickers to work on Christopher Columbus Street, a busy tree-lined avenue in Rome where the traffic thunders past day and night.

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At eight o'clock in the evening, it is barely dusk and already girls are standing by the roadside.

"It is not something that Italian citizens like - also because it is not something you see in other countries," says Lucio Malan, a senator in the governing Forza Italia party.

He explains why the new law on prostitution is an important law-and-order issue for many voters.

"The sensation for people is that those streets are controlled by criminals and not by the state. It is not a good sensation - we have to show the government is in control."

But it is not just the desire for law and order driving the debate on the new law - something else has changed here in public opinion.

Cosmetic change?

Ten years ago most of the prostitutes on the streets were of Italian nationality. Today over 80% are immigrants - mostly from Eastern Europe and North Africa.

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Alessandro dal Lago, a sociologist from the University of Genoa, believes the new law is more about immigration than prostitution.

"When people in Italy talk about a law against illegal prostitution they mean a law against illegal foreign prostitution," he says.

"The law will remove foreign prostitutes from the streets not Italian ones. And this is a law typical for a Catholic country - resolving the appearance of the problem not the core of the problem.

"No Italian Government wants to spend money helping these women - it costs too much."

Back at the safehouse, Helena says she has been granted legal status to stay in Italy, which means she can find a proper job and accommodation.

Under the proposed new prostitution laws which could have given her a criminal record she may have been less lucky.

"I can stay here now, I want to make my life here," she says. "I want to work and to have a normal life, like other girls."

cosmocreator
Friday, September 12th, 2003, 06:42 PM
"Then he and others beat me and raped me until I agreed to work on the streets. They said if I didn't do it they would kill my family."


That's a common method even here in Canada with girls who are Canadian citizens. As I understand it, these girls, here, are white, and those making the threats are Negroes and possibly Mongoloid. :african :korean :pimp :chinese :lynch

Italia_Ariana
Friday, September 12th, 2003, 08:15 PM
"When people in Italy talk about a law against illegal prostitution they mean a law against illegal foreign prostitution," he says."

I say ban it all. The degeneracy of this "new" Italy is disturbing. :(

Milesian
Sunday, September 14th, 2003, 02:59 PM
"When people in Italy talk about a law against illegal prostitution they mean a law against illegal foreign prostitution," he says."

I say ban it all. The degeneracy of this "new" Italy is disturbing. :(

I agree. Sexual degeneracy is just another sympton of a society rotten to it's core. There should be no foreigner's plying their sordid trade inside Italy's borders and the Italian women should be cherished, not pimped on the streets.
Of course the same could be said for any European nation.

Phlegethon
Wednesday, September 24th, 2003, 02:22 PM
Police bust huge Italian call-girl ring

John Hooper in Rome
Wednesday September 24, 2003
The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/)

Police in Italy have uncovered what is possibly Europe's biggest-ever prostitution ring, operating under the guise of an escort agency.



A 35-year-old Milanese man has been charged with living off the immoral earnings of between 500 and 600 women.

Most were said not to be fulltime prostitutes, but housewives and students. One had reached the semi-final of this year's Miss Italy contest, police said.

Their clients were mostly professional men living away from home who paid an average of 600 (415) per visit, plus the woman's travel expenses. The organiser of the ring is accused of taking 30%. The man, who denies the charges, was detained in June but his arrest was kept quiet up until police had concluded their investigation.