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The Italian Government is strongly committed to the protection of human rights and to prevent and redress abuses committed by companies and therefore: i) takes appropriate steps to boost and facilitate the enforcement of laws aimed at requiring the respect of human rights by business; ii) provides effective guidance to business through policy measures and promotion and participation to multi-stakeholder initiatives; iii) encourages enterprises to communicate how they address their human rights impacts and stimulate and disseminate best practices at national and international level.

Recent policies, legislative initiatives and implementation measures adopted by the Government include:


The ‘legality rating’ was introduced in 2012 for the promotion of principles of ethical behaviourin business. The Italian Competition Authority (ICA) can issue, on request, a certification of compliance with relevant domestic legislation and of the adoption of good governance initiatives voluntarily adopted by enterprises, which entitles firms to access public funding and easier access to bank credit. One of the main aims of the ‘legality rating’ is to certify the companies’ active compliance with human rights, in particular the adherence to the guidelines provided by the Legislative Decree No. 231 of June 8th 2001 on the administrative liabilities of companies and the adoption of corporate social responsibility within their own modus operandi. The Decree No. 231 introduces essential provisions regulating the relationship between companies and the stakeholders, sanctioning enterprises that through their managers, company’s officers, subordinates (or third parties acting on behalf of the company), commit specific offences, including environmental crimes, unauthorized handling of information and crimes against the person (as listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), and violate the safety rules in the workplace. The complete list of the companies that have obtained a rating, with their score, is published on the ICA website


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Decree 231 of 2001 has introduced the direct liability of legal entities for specific offences (corruption, money laundering, bribery, fraud, etc.) providing for a special form of liability, which is administrative in nature but to be ascertained by a penal judge and according to criminal law procedures. In order to avoid incurring in liability, the entity shall first demonstrate that it has adopted a sound model of organization, management and control; and secondly, that it has established a mechanism/body entrusted with monitoring and supervising the compliance to the model. Law 231 is both preventive and punitive: the list of crimes falling under the application of the law has been extended over the time and it presently includes specific human rights abuses, among others, the practice of mutilation of female genitalia; child prostitution and pornography; trafficking in human beings and slavery. In 2015, new environmental crimes have been included (environmental disaster, environmental pollution, failure to decontaminate, etc.).


The ‘National Action Plan Against Trafficking in and Serious Exploitation of Human Beings’ provides for preventive measures in countries of origin where exploitation and trafficking of migrants in irregular work mostly occurred. Within this framework, a 2014 Decree has established the “Rete del Lavoro Agricolo di Qualità”: a network aimed at countering irregular work in agriculture by connecting companies compliant with specific requirements under labour, social security and fiscal law (such as the application of local and national agricultural sector work agreements). Companies compliant with the requirements under labour, social security and fiscal law may apply for joining the network, and this is rewarded with special incentives. Companies listed in the network receive special benefits, such as being included in a “white list”. This list is taken in consideration by the government enforcement agencies, which prioritize their controls over companies not belonging to the network (the rule does not apply if workers or trade unions representatives ask for intervention or in case of complaints to judicial authority or other administrative authorities). Such reward mechanisms from Public Administration incentivize promising and best practices in the field of countering irregular work in the agricultural sector.

In line with this approach, the Law n. 199 of 29.10.2016 “Disposizioni in materia di contrasto ai fenomeni del lavoro nero, dello sfruttamento del lavoro in agricoltura e di riallineamento retributivo nel settore agricolo” (provisions on countering undeclared labour, labour exploitation in agriculture and wages rebalance in agricultural sector), provides for measures aimed at improving the criminal prosecution of the phenomenon (through the crimes of illicit intermediation and work exploitation) with particular regard to illicit capital accumulation by exploiters and the provision of confiscation of the goods and properties acquired through the exploitation activity. The Law provides for victims’ compensation and the activation of a plan for the treatment of seasonal workers (in particular foreign ones) with the direct involvement and control of Regions on their conditions. The Law is also aimed at controlling the illicit intermediation by favouring the meeting supply and demand of jobs. On this issue a working group (composed of Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies; the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies; the Ministry of Justice; Regions; Industry Associations; Trade Unions and Civil Society Organizations) signed the experimental Protocol “Contro il caporalato e lo sfruttamento lavorativo in agricoltura. Cura-Legalità-Uscita dal ghetto”.


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To increase cooperation activities of investigation, intensify financial controls on criminal groups’ profits and ensure punishment for transnational organizations profiting on migrants smuggling and human trafficking, in line with the Legislative Decree 24 of 2014 (transposing the EU Directive 2011/36) on February 2016, the Italian Government has adopted the National Action Plan Against Trafficking in and Serious Exploitation of Human Beings. The Plan is aimed at defining measures and strategies of intervention for the countering and prevention of trafficking, as well as at providing for actions of awareness-raising, social prevention, and social integration of victims.


International Development Cooperation represents for Italy an instrument for creating stable relationships between countries and also a means of human rights and solidarity promotion; in this respect, the “General Rules Governing International Development Cooperation” define a ‘governance architecture’ for the development cooperation system, whose coherence and policy coordination will be ensured by the Inter-ministerial Committee on Development Cooperation (CICS), a task force made up of relevant ministries. The National Council for Development Cooperation has also been established, including the main public and private, profit and nonprofit actors in the field of international development cooperation.

Planned Measures

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  • Conduct a comprehensive study of the Law 231/2001 in order to evaluate potential extension of the scope and application of the administrative liability of legal entities;
  • Strengthen the role of the legality rating – primary competence of the Italian Competition Authority – with the aim of taking it into consideration in the elaboration of the ‘rating d’impresa’ – primary competence of the National Anticorruption Authority – with the aim of promoting the respect for human rights in all economic activities;
  • Extend the scope and mandate of the “Rete Lavoro Agricolo di Qualità” to the food mass distribution companies and intermediaries with the aim of promoting the social responsibility of agro-food industry for workers’ exploitation;
  • Strengthen the role of labour inspections for tackling and controlling the emersion of irregular work and caporalato;
  • Implement the provisions included in the II Program of Action on Disability – currently under approval – with particular focus to line of intervention n. 5 “Labour and occupation” and to the dispositions concerning the definition of supporting measures and of a system of incentives for the I and II level collective negotiations on matters of flexibility, part-time and treatment-work-life balance for persons with disabilities or affected by chronic disease or for caregiver workers for persons with serious disabilities;
  • Strengthen – also in line with the implementation of art. 25 of the UN Convention of Rights of people with disabilities – respect of fundamental rights of people with disabilities with regard access to medical treatment in hospitals and their quality, through the promotion and dissemination of the “Carta dei diritti delle persone con disabilità in ospedale” realized by the Coop. Sociale Onlus Spes contra Spem in 2010;
  • Promote effective implementation of EU Directive 2014/95 on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by large enterprises and groups;
  • Fully implement the provisions of the new Law on Italian Development Cooperation with particular focus on the relationship between the profit and no profit actors and the definition of specific binding guidelines clarifying the role of business and private sector within development cooperation activities and their compliance with human rights;
  • Proceed to ratification of the 2014 Protocol to the ILO Forced Labour Convention and its implementation to counter activities of work exploitation and slavery;
  • Promote an effective implementation of the Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)3 adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to Member States on business and human rights;

Planned Measures

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  • Conduct a systematic review of the existing legal framework for contrasting all illegal forms of labour and labour exploitation in the agriculture, construction, manufacturing and services sectors;
  • Conduct a comprehensive review of the existing commercial and civil law to assess and evaluate legislative reform introducing provisions such as the ‘duty of care’ or due diligence for companies;