I. Guidelines and General Principles

“the second Italian NAP-BHR intends to strengthen the application of the UNGPs through a series of complementary measures, referring in particular to the following guidelines:

– the commitment to update and improve collective action in relation to multiple human rights issues from the perspective of protecting the ‘most vulnerable’ (women and girls, minors, persons with disabilities, LGBTIQ+ persons, migrants and asylum seekers, persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, the elderly), with the aim to empower their role and involvement as right-holders, where individual aspects related to business activities may have a significant impact on these categories from a labour and economic point of view” (p. 7)

II. Premises

b) Italy and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)

“The NAP addresses the issue of the negative impact of business activities on human rights and identifies specific commitments with the aim of effectively integrating the UNGPs into the national system and business activities and introduces limited objectives and actions, with reference to the national context translated into the following priorities:

The fight against caporalato (especially in the agricultural and construction sectors) and forms of exploitation, forced labour, child labour, slavery and irregular work, with particular attention to migrants and victims of trafficking” (p. 10)

IV. Italian ongoing activities and future commitments

Irregular work and the agricultural sector

“interventions for the protection and integration of migrant workers will be reinforced, in line with former actions in 2020, within the framework of the Steering Committee as well as the Three-year Plan to combat illegal labour. To this end experience and significant results have been achieved during inspections carried out by the extraordinary task forces organized in implementing the two projects financed with EU and national funds (“SU.PR.EME.” and “A.L.T. Caporalato!”), the Ministry and inspection staff being assisted by cultural mediators from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). The promotion and enhancement of synergies between territorial Labour Inspectorates, Public Safety Authorities, Public Prosecutors’ Offices, Police Forces, Social Partners and Associations on the territory, jointly committed on several fronts (prevention, assistance, protection, repression) will also be promoted to strengthen the protection of victims, foster cooperation and increase trust in the institutions.” (p. 21)

“Contacts were made with the IOM referents of each regional context and with the bodies and associations of the anti-trafficking network in territories involved to ensure timeliness and effectiveness of any interventions to take charge of and provide protection to victims of severe exploitation identified during the operations.” (p. 22)

“the INL has carried out and coordinated extraordinary surveillance campaigns in some areas of Southern Italy (in the agricultural sector only, with the project Su.Pr.Eme (funded by the EU Commission and supported by the project PIU’ SU.PRE.ME, for an amount of about € 50 million for the implementation of interventions in Puglia, Campania, Basilicata, Calabria and Sicily) and Central Italy (mainly, but not only in agriculture, with the project A.L.T. Caporalato! project, financed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies for an amount of € 3 million for actions in the territories of central and northern Italy), where the phenomena of forced labour and labour exploitation of migrants are particularly diffused.” (p. 22)

Smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings

The National Plan of Action against Trafficking and Serious Exploitation of Human Beings 2016-2018, implementing Directive (EU) 2011/36, is aimed at defining measures and intervention strategies for preventing and combating the phenomenon, as well as actions aimed at raising awareness, social prevention, emersion and social integration of victims. The Plan was articulated according to the following five key priorities: (a) identify, protect and assist trafficking victims; (b) intensify prevention of human trafficking; (c) strengthen prosecution of traffickers; (d) improve policy coordination and coherence among key stakeholders; and (e) increase knowledge of emerging issues related to all forms of human trafficking and provide an effective response.

Given the complexity and multi-sectoral nature of the interventions, the Plan has provided for the establishment of a political-institutional Steering Committee, responsible for ensuring a multidisciplinary and integrated approach between institutional and private/social actors. It is flanked by a Technical Committee, composed of representatives of central and local government, law enforcement agencies, trade unions and third sector entities involved in the fight against human trafficking.

Moreover, the Department for Equal Opportunities at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers is responsible for the data collection system SIRIT (Sistema Informatizzato per la raccolta di informazioni sulla tratta), managed and updated by the Veneto Region within the framework of the Agreement for the management of the service inherent in the “Antitrafficking toll-free number”

Given the persistence of the Covid-19 health emergency, the Department for Equal Opportunities introduced proper changes for public and private operators in charge of anti-trafficking projects. Taking into account the dynamics of trafficking in relation to confinement measures, the Department ensured the ongoing implementation of projects and by an ad hoc provision of 28 May 2020 established their extension until 31 December 2020, with a 7-months paid allowance worth over € 11 million. This approach was reiterated in order to further extend the anti-trafficking projects until 30 June 2021, while providing additional funding of approximately € 10 million. In 2021 the Department for Equal Opportunities has prepared a new call (Call No. 4/2021): it takes into account the changes some services have provided during the pandemic, but it will also be structured in such a way to respond to needs of operators.

In 2020, the process aimed at drawing up the new Plan was started; to this end, both the Steering Committee and the Technical Committee were reconvened, within which 4 working tables were identified according to the four key directions prevention, prosecution, protection, partnership and cooperation. The opportunity to set up an ad hoc working group involving all the competent Administrations with the aim of strengthening the collaboration for data collection was shared. In particular, the new Plan will be based on the following key priorities: (a) improve the reliability and availability of data on trafficking, as a precondition for adequate monitoring of the phenomenon and better policy-making; (b) intensify actions to address trafficking for sexual exploitation, forced marriages, begging, forced crime, organ trafficking, sale of infants, all forms of labour exploitation; (c) address trafficking in the new context of the migration crisis (in fact, many victims of trafficking are involved in asylum application systems); (d) intensify the training of professionals who, in various capacities, have contact with victims, also in relation to the evolution of traffickers’ operational methods; (e) combat impunity for those who knowingly use trafficked persons; (f) strengthen efforts to prevent child trafficking for multiple exploitation purposes; (g) take further measures to improve the identification of trafficked persons; (h) facilitate and ensure access to compensation for trafficked persons; (i) continue to take measures to ensure that the return of trafficked persons is carried out with respect for their rights, safety and dignity and, with regard to children, in full compliance with the principle of the best interests of the child; (l) enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of investigation and prosecution activities.

In the field of labour and social legislation, in the implementation of priorities of intervention provided in planning documents for surveillance activity, extraordinary inspection campaigns were launched to prevent and counteract the illegal phenomena of greatest social alarm. These include caporalato, and the exploitation of foreign citizens and their reduction to slavery through controls over production sectors and geographical areas most at risk, in close collaboration with enforcement law officers (Carabinieri, ASL, Guardia di Finanza, State Police).

Although the prevention of contemporary forms of slavery and the protection of victims cannot disregard the fight against illegal phenomena and the restoration of legality, the most demanding challenge concerns the direct involvement of workers. This is especially in regard to those most exposed to the risk of abuse and oppression: they should be involved in training courses to know their fundamental rights, for a greater awareness of defense tools provided and encourage a relationship of trust with the institutions. It should also be noted that, if during supervisory activities the presence of illegally employed irregular foreign workers is ascertained, the inspection staff is required to fill out and deliver a form to inform the foreign worker of his/her right to unpaid wages and insurance and social security contributions and how to enforce this right, as well as to sanction and take restrictive measures against involved employers.” (p. 25)

The nexus State-Business

“The violation of rules relating to the exploitation of child labour and other forms of trafficking in human beings, as defined by Legislative Decree No. 24 of 4 March 2014, constitutes for the company exclusion from procedures concerning public contracts, as provided for in Art. 80, paragraph 1) – letter f), of the Public Contracts Code.” (p. 48)

ANNEX 1 – Accountability Grid and Assessment Tools for the Implementation of the NAP

“6. Ensure full implementation of the National Action Plan against Trafficking and Serious Exploitation of Human Beings” (p. 62)

“42. Preparation – by and/or in collaboration with the Inter-ministerial Committee for Human Rights – of spaces and activities for awareness raising and training on human rights and business (with particular attention to the so-called vulnerable categories (women, minors, persons with disabilities, LGBTIQ+ persons, minorities, migrants, etc.) designed as tools for support to businesses and public officials. These tools may consist in the preparation of governmental webpages to host dedicated information material, as well as in the development of campaigns, surveys, e-learning modules and ad hoc seminars. The latter will be defined in relation to specific competences and activities of each Ministry, as well as in constant dialogue with local authorities and all stakeholders who wish to take part in these initiatives.” (p. 67)

“54. Ensure an adequate level of resources dedicated to legal aid, and ensure access to free legal aid also for non-resident foreign nationals, in particular for irregular migrants who are victims of crimes committed by criminal organizations, such as trafficking in human beings, and enable them to report such crimes regardless of their status.” (p. 68)