Reconquering Life: Vulnerable Women Migrant Victims of Trafficking Living the Process of Integration in Italy
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This thesis is concerned with the debate on the integration of victims of human trafficking into host societies. It focuses on the Italian scenario, which among the European countries, has some of the most developed instruments regulating the fight of trafficking and victims’ integration. Indeed, Article 18 of Legislative decree 286/1998 is an advanced tool which enables women victims of THB to escape from exploitation and to integrate into the new society. The study aims to understand if women ex victims of trafficking can integrate into the new society thanks to the services provided by Article18. With this aim, I decided to focus the research on women’s perspectives and their personal experiences. Consequently, the research question is: how do women migrant victims of trafficking perceive the process of integration in Italy and what is their point of view about the local NGOs’ support? I collected relevant literature which explores the concept of human trafficking as an international crime recognized at the regional and national level and I connected it with the issue of integration. Besides, I opted for the theories from Ager and Strang (2008) and their understanding of integration in addition to Kabeer (1999, 2005, 2012) and Zimmerman (2000) and their ideas on empowerment. To collect relevant data, I conducted interviews in an Italian NGO located in Bergamo – Associazione Micaela – which deals with THB victims’ integration since 1999. I led semi-structured interviews with five women who have gone through the process of integration thanks to the services provided by Associazione Micaela. Despite the limited time and the challenges generated by the outbreak of the pandemic emergency Covid-19, which forced me to stop my fieldwork, many significant results emerge from the interviews. The thesis concludes that the Italian integration system designed for victims of human trafficking is efficient. Women interviewed feel integrated into Italian society and are satisfied with the services provided. Also, they believe the support received from the NGO was fundamental for their integration and their empowerment’s process. Nevertheless, there are still some aspects that could be enhanced. The system as structured greatly rely on NGOs work and on the choice of victims to ask for help. Also, the political scenario together with the populist anti-migrant discourses, supported by many, represent a threat for the system which is already weak since it is outdated and lacking funds. The final part of this research examines the potential future challenges within this framework and try to give an overview of possible future steps to tackle human trafficking and assure victims’ integration.