Sex trafficking in Italy is a problem. It is a dark, underground business that everyone knows about, but everyone ignores. It runs rampart under the guise of legalized prostitution and only seems to be getting worse.
According to ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking), 80,000 Italians participate in sex tourism every year. While Italy is proving itself a gateway for human trafficking to Europe and a destination for those indulging in sex tourism, it seems as a rising number of young Italians are traveling outside of Italy to participate in sex tourism themselves. Most of these 80,000 are between the ages of 25 to 35, a troubling thought to those of us fighting sex trafficking around the world. Not only does this rising tide of young people find it an acceptable practice, but are willing to participate in it.
Marco Scarpati, president of the Italian branch of ECPAT said:
“These are travelling sex offenders. They are people who modify their behavior when they travel far from home whether for work, pleasure, study or another reason. Now we have a new generation of very young Italians and that is very alarming.”
While ECPAT focuses on the one million — or one third — of sex tourists that seek sex with children, these numbers are troubling to all of those organizations actively fighting against all forms of sex trafficking.