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Italy’s Sordid Cases of Baby Prostitution

Prostitution by minors in Italy is termed ‘baby prostitution‘ even if those concerned are not actually infants. Recently in Italy an increasing number of cases of girls under the age of 15 and as young as 12 working as prostitutes have been coming to light.

More cases may see the light of day too. An explanation of why this may well happen is given at the end of this article.

The most striking of these cases involves two young girls in Rome who were goaded into prostitution by, of all people, their mother.

When one of her daughters complained that her part-time job was not leaving her with enough time to finish her school work, the mother made it perfectly clear that prostitution was far more important than schooling. What a mum.

Now, it has come to light that Mauro Floriani, the husband of Italian politician Alessandra Mussolini, and father of three children, the oldest of which is an 18 year old girl, had been frequenting Rome’s schoolgirl “baby” prostitutes. According to Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano, Floriani had had at least five encounters with at least one of the two girls.

Floriani has told investigators that he didn’t think the girls were under-age. The police have stated that other prospective clients left after meeting the girls and understanding that they were very young. On the website where the schoolgirls advertised their sexual services, it is possible their ages were given as 19.

Amongst the other clients of the Rome schoolgirl prostitutes are a right-wing politician, a Bank of Italy official, a few celebrities and, according to the Il Fatto Quotidiano website, at least one manager from global accountancy, auditing professional services firm Ernst & Young.

The Rome case is one of four instances of the baby prostitution phenomenon in Italy. Here’s a round up of the others:

Abruzzo

In the Abruzzo region of Italy, investigations into the prostitution of minors began after a local doctor brought the situation to the attention of authorities. In the Abruzzo case, girls younger than 14 have apparently been selling their bodies.

Verona

Yet another prostitution case involves schoolgirls in the Verona area of northern Italy. Flyers left on cars sparked investigations and some 14 girls between the ages of 12 to 14 are understood to have been working as prostitutes. A man named as being at the centre of the baby prostitution ring in local papers has brought stated the accusations constitute libel and has sought legal redress.

Liguria

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In the Ventimiglia area of the Italian region of Liguria, two 14 and 15 year old schoolgirls were selling their bodies to top up their pocket money. Five men are under investigation for frequenting under-age prostitutes. The school girl prostitutes told police that they took their inspiration from the girls in the Rome case.

A Lucrative Trade

Prostitution, distasteful or not, can be a lucrative trade with encounters generating up to €200. Times are economically hard in Italy, so families cannot always satisfy their children’s’ demand for the latest must-have smart-phone, tablet or fashionable clothes and footwear.

The sexual services of young girls are in-demand in Italy too. The web makes it very easy to find prostitutes with some sites specialising in connecting prostitutes to clients. On these sites, yes, I have visited one – very explicit photographs and language – the girls often specify their ages. It is not clear that money is required in return for sexual services, though those visiting such sites will be aware that payment will have to be made.

Prostitution of Minors and Berlusconi

The number of cases of the prostitution of minors appears to be on the increase in Italy.

One reason for this may be the antics of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi found himself in court on charges of frequenting an under-age prostitute in the now infamous Ruby case. Berlusconi has yet to be found definitively guilty, though he has been found guilty by one of Italy’s three stags of justice. Berlusconi denies wrongdoing.

Surrounding the Ruby case were tales of girls being rewarded with cash, clothes, jewellery, cars and even rent-free apartments. Far from appearing sordid, the case came across as being glamorous and it certainly looked as if the women involved did very well financially. Ruby, the girl at the centre of the case, reportedly received millions from Berlusconi.

While it has yet to be demonstrated that the Berlusconi case has influenced young girls in Italy to take to the streets, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that this has happened.

Will other cases come to light?

This, alas, is very likely. And here’s why: Nearly 40% of Italians think sex with minors is acceptable, or so a very recent survey commissioned by Save the Children discovered.

This startling percentage indicates to this Italy watcher that something in Italian society is wrong, very wrong indeed.

How would you feel if you discovered your daughter had been topping up her pocket money by working as a prostitute?

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