In 2019 the Constitutional Affairs Commission of the Senate launched an investigation into the phenomenon of prostitution in Italy, on the initiative of Senator Alessandra Maiorino. The hearings included testimony from a variety of speakers, from survivors, psychologists and anti-trafficking operators, to representatives of the third sector, including our president Esohe Aghatise, an expert on human trafficking.

During her presentation, Aghatise spoke about the impact of prostitution on women in general and on Nigerian women particularly in the Italian context and debunked the propaganda that Nigerian women “liked” being in prostitution. Esohe explains, “I spoke about their experiences, to the effect that prostitution for them was a violence they had to endure due to lack of opportunities and of alternative, dignified means of subsistence”. You can listen to her original testimony in Italian here. 

Prostitution, the “invisible elephant in the room”, as sen. Maiorino described it, is the third largest illegal industry in the world in terms of turnover, after drugs and arms.

We take this opportunity to remind you, as we have already written and shared during our webinars earlier this summer, that in July the Commission approved the final report on the investigation, paving the way for a necessary political and cultural debate on this complex and too often exploited/manipulated issue. We hope such a debate will culminate in the approval of a neo-abolitionist law, with the aim of strengthening the existing, abolitionist, Merlin law.

For those who want to learn more, you can listen to the podcast of an interview with Senator Maiorino (in Italian).

Reference: “Indagine conoscitiva sul fenomeno della prostituzione“, Commissione Affari Costituzionali, Senato della Repubblica, Servizio Studi, PROSTITUZIONE – Elementi di Documentazione, 3 luglio 2019