All roads lead to Rome. It's an old saying that never went out of style. Many people still come to Rome for work or holidays. For many refugees it is an important destination too, where they receive help from the various communities that have settled there. In addition, a large network of NGOs and volunteers provides informal facilities: from housing and care to voluntary legal aid, mental assistance, food and clothes. But the new trend in Italian politics, initiated by former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, to crack down on migrants led to many evictions in Rome and the closure of illegal shelters. This includes the closure of an abandoned chemical plant called "Ex-Penicillina" and "Baobab", and an informal camp at Tiburtina train station.
In Kosovo, a highly established smuggling network has started a large flow of underage children leaving for Italy. Thanks to the 'Zampa law' (2017), they have a chance to a study- or work permit if they report to the Italian immigration service as a minor. The law was intended to prevent unaccompanied asylum children going missing, but it encourages people smuggling. "It is a company of 100,000 euros a month, but nobody seems to care," said the prosecutor in Trieste.
In radio show “Drejtësia në Kosovë” the exclusive investigation into how children are being smuggled from Kosovo into Italy. Justice in Kosovo has found that smugglers from Kosovo send minor children to Italy, where they then obtain residence permits. A criminal network has smuggled over 300 children from Malisheva and Peja who today live in camps in Italy. Researchers have filmed the mountain roads the smuggled children have to pass, and interviewed Italian prosecutors and Italian officials about the smuggling scheme of children. Also the stories of children who went down this route and of their parents.
Peasant families in Kosovo see only one future: to send their underage boys abroad. That is, to Italy, with human traffickers: 4,000-4,500 euros are paid per child, a huge amount for Kosovo. Each family begins to collect it when the child destined to leave is 13 or 14, to be sure to be able to send it abroad before he turns 18. And there are those who sell the cow, some the tractor, those who make debts. In Italy many problems await.
July 30 is the United Nation's World Day Against Trafficking in Persons -- it's the international day to raise awareness about the plight of human trafficking victims and to call for their rights to be protected. On this day we're hosting a special Q&A session on ZOOM with two of our journalists from the Lost in Europe collective.
This special Q&A session will feature two of our top investigative journalists, Cecilia Ferrara and Ismail Einashe. Do you want to learn about how Lost in Europe works? what stories Cecilia and Ismail are working on? do you want to learn which journalistic techniques work and which don't? Then do please reserve your free spot.
Date: Thursday 30 July
Time: 17.00-18.00 CEST (Central European time)
Link to sign up.