The murder of three sex workers in a middle-class suburb of the Italian capital, Rome, has shed light on the tragedy of human trafficking in Italy, according to experts, academics and human rights activists.
The Prati neighborhood had recently witnessed a crime described as horrific, when a mafia gangster killed two Chinese women before killing another of Colombian nationality within minutes, according to a newspaper report.The Times” British.
The crime took place in a building close to a court complex, in which there are offices for law firms, an advertising firm, and a psychiatrist, in addition to many apartments.
According to eyewitnesses, the two Chinese women used their apartment to receive clients.
The 51-year-old accused apparently ran to hide in the apartment of a Colombian prostitute, who refused to receive him.
Francesco Carcidi, a professor of social sciences at La Sapienza University in Rome who has studied the reasons for the increase in the number of prostitutes working in apartments in the Italian capital, said he was not surprised to find prostitutes working in their personal apartments.
The academic claimed that there are 1,500 Chinese sex workers working in 600 apartments and 80 “massage” parlors, thus making up a third of the city’s prostitutes.
And he added, “They are often brought to Italy by criminal groups on buses from Turkey on a one-day visitor visa to Venice before they disappear from view.”
He continued, “The gangs take their passports and force them to pay debts amounting to 15,000 euros in exchange for bringing each woman from China, and although the sex workers keep about half of their earnings later, they have in fact become my slaves.”
Karshidi pointed out that Chinese women are moving from street prostitution in Italy to working in apartments, explaining that this is “a clear trend among the total number of sex workers in the country.”
He said that since 2017, the number of apartment workers has increased from about 12,000 to about 30,000, while the rest of them are still working in the streets.
After the murder, Italian newspapers began to speculate that the two victims had set up a “sex den” near the courts because there were so many lawyers looking for sex during their meal breaks.
But that prompted an angry response from the president of the Rome Bar Association, Antonino Galletti, who said his members were so busy they worked during their lunch breaks most of the time.
He added, “I think there were probably journalists, judges, shopkeepers and workers among the clients of these two women.”
Under Italian law, prostitution is legal, provided there are no pimps taking advantage of these women.
Italian novelist Patrizio Sorgone estimates that 20 percent of prostitutes in Italy today are African, 70 percent European, and the rest South American, while 28 percent of the total are transgender.
He said the surge in arrivals of Nigerian prostitutes, which peaked in 2016 when 16,000 girls and women arrived in Italy by boat from Libya, is now waning.
Sorgone, who used to frequent some apartments of sex workers in the Prati district, said that if pimps manage many women working in the apartments, the situation is even worse on the streets.
“In the Marche region, where I work, a pimp controls a street or alley, and most of the pimps are Albanians or Romanians,” he added, adding: “Sex prices there can drop to 10 euros, the equivalent of a modest pizza.”