Migrants, Piantedosi: “States must not accept ignoble modern slavery”

For the Interior Minister, “organized crime cannot determine national migration policies”. Nordio: “Total war without discounts to traffickers”

No state can accept that organized crime determines national migration policies nor that ignoble forms of modern slavery are practiced”. This was said by the Minister of the Interior, Matteo Piantedosi, in his speech, in the bunker room of the Ucciardone prison in Palermo at the international ministerial conference organized by the Italian Government in collaboration with the Office of the United Nations for drug control and crime prevention (UNODC), on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Palermo Convention. “According to studies conducted by Europol, over 90% of irregular migrants arriving in European territory made use of traffickers , during all or part of the journey”, he commented.

“We believe strengthening collaboration with UN agencies is essential to expand assisted voluntary repatriation programs from transit countries to countries of origin”, added Piantedosi who, regarding migrant trafficking and human trafficking, underlines: “These are particularly heinous crimes which constitute a serious violation of international law and cause offense not only to the dignity of the people involved but also to the right of every sovereign State to regulate the entry of foreign citizens into its territory”.

The minister explained that “just yesterday on the occasion of the Internal Affairs Council in Brussels I presented to my European colleagues a series of initiatives to face this epochal challenge, which can be traced back to two essential pillars”. “On the one hand – he added – the need to strengthen collaboration with the countries of origin and transit of the flows, to strengthen investigative cooperation and make the repressive response against traffickers more effective. On the other hand, the need to act concretely on the causes of migration and offer migrants legal alternatives to their migratory plans”.

“We are examining, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IOM and UNHCR, innovative solutions for the management of flows inspired by the so-called ‘route-based approach’. It is a question of developing a plan aimed at the orderly management of flows along the routes that lead from sub-Saharan countries to the coasts of the Mediterranean”, said the minister for whom the “strength points” of the plan would be “the creation of protection corridors for those who need it, in the socio-economic development of the transit territories, and the strengthening of the system of accompanied returns to the countries of origin”. “It is clear that a widespread presence of the authorities and UN organizations along the routes – he added – it would offer migrants a realistic alternative to illegal migration and would deprive criminal networks of oxygen.”

Important collaboration with France to fight traffickers

Italy has “an important collaboration underway with French colleagues, with which we assumed the leadership of one of the most important programs of the European Commission, for the fight against trafficking networks in North Africa. This is a project that will allow specific actions to be developed directly in the countries concerned for the strengthening of police and judicial cooperation, firstly with Tunisia and followed by Morocco, Egypt, Algeria and Libya”. “At European level, the Italy has also recently put forward the proposal to activate an operational task force for investigations into human trafficking in close collaboration with Europol – the head of the Interior Ministry recalled -. It is clear, however, that a winning strategy cannot ignore initiatives also in the main countries of origin of the flows”.

Nordio: total war with no concessions to traffickers

“Collaboration with the UN system is fundamental (in the fight against human trafficking, ed.). Meloni reminded the United Nations a few days ago that we must wage a total war with no concessions to human traffickers.” This was said in Palermo by the Minister of Justice, Carlo Nordio, adding: “The surge in landings requires serious reflection on criminal organizations in the management of migrants. The commitment in this fight (against human traffickers, ed.) must unite the nations of the two shores of the Mediterranean, as well as those of Africa and Europe, and of our main partners and allies”.

According to Nordio “to deal with global emergencies that put human rights and the rule of law at risk, a united response is needed. For this reason I would like to launch a proposal: start strengthened cooperation with the signatory states of the Palermo Convention which intend to strengthen judicial cooperation among themselves, in order to combat migrant smuggling and human trafficking”.

“Looking to the future, we are ready to strengthen our network of liaison magistrates in the region of the so-called Greater Mediterranean and Sub-Saharan Africa. We have very satisfactory experiences of collaboration in this regard”, added Nordio. The Minister of the Seal cited a joint operation with the judicial authorities of Nigeria, “completed earlier this year, with the extradition to Italy of the leader of an international human trafficking network for the purpose of prostitution “.