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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 6, 1998
                          U.S.-ITALY INITIATIVE

The United States and Italy recognize that criminal activities across national borders, in particular the growing problem of trafficking in women and children, poses a serious challenge to the international community. This is an international problem with national implications.

The disturbing growth of the involvement of international organized crime in trafficking in women and children for profit demands increasing attention and concern. Traffickers in women and children, much like narcotics traffickers, now operate boldly across international borders, using state-of-the-art means of communication and trade. In both the United States and Italy, there have been cases of trafficking in women and children for the purposes of sexual exploitation, sweatshop labor and exploitative domestic servitude.

President Clinton and Prime Minister Prodi are committed to taking the steps necessary to address this growing criminal enterprise. They agreed that new strategies are needed to eradicate trafficking, focusing on strengthening the human rights protection of trafficking victims; increasing prosecution of the crimes associated with trafficking; finding ways to help victims assist with the prosecution of traffickers; increasing public awareness of the problem; and coordinating the fight against trafficking with all of the countries involved, including those of origin, transit and destination.

President Clinton and Prime Minister Prodi are determined that the United States and Italy will do their part by taking specific measures to combat trafficking in women and children. To this end, the United States and Italy recently established a U.S.-Italy Working Group on Trafficking in Women and Children. The group, which held its first meeting in Rome on April 14, has agreed to the following joint actions:

Protection of the rights of victims of trafficking through: exchange of best practices with respect to assistance, protection and social integration of victims; common initiatives, including joint program strategies for victim outreach to be implemented separately in Italy and the United States; and protection of victims' families in source countries.

Joint public information campaigns in source countries with the cooperation of their authorities and non-governmental organizations.

The regular exchange of information, with the cooperation of the Italian National Antimafia Directorate, and within the limits of existing legal provisions in the two countries as regards confidentiality of investigations, on:


successful investigative methods and procedures; and

statistical data and general analysis of trafficking.

Training for law enforcement, immigration and border officers in source countries to identify patterns and methods of trafficking and prevent trafficking through effective investigation and prosecution.

Development of witness protection procedures and victim services in source countries in cases of repatriation, including training for law enforcement and assistance to non-governmental organizations that provide victim services.

Promotion of joint initiatives in multilateral fora to combat trafficking in addition to efforts under way at the United Nations to develop a Convention on organized crime.

President Clinton and Prime Minister Prodi agreed that these joint actions would form an important element of our future bilateral law enforcement and political cooperation.

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