Modern slavery: sexual trafficking survivors on the central Mediterranean route. The case study of Italy

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Aragón Moreno, Belén
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This thesis explores the phenomenon of trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation in the very particular and complex context of the Central Mediterranean Route. Initially, I briefly discuss the concept of human trafficking and its intertwined relationship with the phenomenon of migration and smuggling as well as the international legal framework dealing with it. Subsequently, the focus turns to the ‘gender dimension’ of this transnational crime and the legal framework protecting and promoting the rights of victims based on a gender sensitive-approach. Having traced a contextualised understanding of this particular criminal form of exploitation, I concentrate on Italy. Italy constitutes the case study of this thesis, given the strategic geographical position that places the country at the forefront of migration on the Central Mediterranean route. I explore this particular phenomenon among migrants arriving by this route, analysing the national framework to combat human trafficking, the legal instruments in terms of migration, as well as the issue of prostitution. The focus then turns to the shortcomings and weaknesses of the legal system. Such an analysis is, in part, based on testimonies from and interviews with survivors of this crime and the professionals working in the field (details in Annex). Finally, I present conclusions and recommendations with the aim of promoting a more comprehensive response to such a crime, putting the human rights of the victims at the centre of every measure.
Second semester University: New University of Lisbon
human trafficking, Mediterranean countries, smuggling, Italy, legal aspects, sexual exploitation, migrations, gender