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Country Information Italy


at a glance

destination Italia

civilization and culture





301,230 square kilometres


58,13 Million (July 2009)


Rome (2,71 Million inhabitants, 2007)

Official language

Italian (other lanuages: German, French, Slovenian)

Gross national product per capita

US$ 31 000 (2008) (PPP)

Population growth

-0.05 per cent per annum (2009)

Life expectancy

80,2 years (men: 77,3 years, women: 83,3) (2009)

Infant mortality

5,5 per 1,000 live births (2009)

Rate of illiteracy

1.5 percent (2003)




Tourism makes an important contribution to the national economy. Both mass tourism and individual tourism concentrate on Italy's historical towns and cites, the coastal resorts, and the mountains and lakes. According to UNWTO in the year 2005 approximately 36,5 million guests came into the country and paid 28,5 billion Euro. Favourite regions are Latium (Lazio), Tuscany, Lombardy and Emilia (52.8% of national tourism in 2000).


Commercial sexual exploitation of children in tourism

Italy, like most other industrialised countries, is a "country of origin" for these problems. That is, some of the travellers leaving the country have the specific intention of seeking sexual services. However, a parallel phenomenon has developed in the last ten years, which needs to be taken into account because it is closely related to sexual tourism: it is the introduction in the prostitution market of underage girls coming from Albania and from other Eastern European countries, who were smuggled illegally through Italian borders by criminal groups, mostly composed of Albanian citizens. A recent study has shown that 20,000 prostitutes are present in Italy, of which 2,000 are under age. Other studies report 1000 registered under-age prostitutes in Rome alone.


The tourism industry (particularly some travel agencies and tour operators) have taken part in awareness raising campaigns against the phenomenon and have drawn up a code of conduct, with the aim of fighting tourist sexual abuse of children.


Legal situation

Sexual abuse of children can be punished in Italy with prison sentences of up to twelve years.


A recent law (Law n. 269 of August 3, 1998) introduced the principle of extra-territoriality for the crime of child sexual tourism in Italy, allowing for punishment of persons who committed crimes abroad, without the obstacle of double incrimination (that is considering the fact as a crime in the country where the crime was committed as well as in the country of origin of the author of the crime). Unlike Germany and France, Italy has not yet sentenced anyone under this crime.


This law also requests the tourism industry to communicate its contents to its clients. Tour operators have to clearly insert in all papers concerning travel that "Italian law provides for domestic prosecution of nationals accused of perpetrating crimes associated with child prostitution and child pornography, even if committed abroad".


Italy ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on September 5, 1991, and undertook to protect children against all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. In June 2002 it also ratified the optional protocol on child trafficking, child prostitution, and child pornography.


HIV /Aids

According to estimates from UNAIDS and the World Health Organization, at the end of 2007 approximately 150.000 people in Italy were infected with HIV, including 41.000 women. How many children were infected, could not be estimated. In the same year 1.9000 Italians died following infection with HIV.


Local Contacts


Italian Coordination of Public and Private Services Against Child Abuse

Via del Mezzetta, 1 interno

50135 Firenze, Italy

Phone: +39 55 601375/6121306

Fax: +39 55 603234



Main contact person(s): Roberta Luberti (


Save the Children Italia

Via Firenze, 38

00184 Roma, Italy

Phone: +39 06 4807001

Fax: + 39 06 48070057




ECPAT - Italy

(End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes - Italy)

Vicolo Scavolino, 61

00187 Roma, Italy

Phone: +39 06 9727 7372

Fax: +39 06 6938 0406




Terre des Hommes - Italy

Viale Monza 57 -

20125 Milano, Italy

Phone: +39 02 289 70 418

Fax: +39 02 261 139 71





The influence of the Roman Empire was felt throughout Europe for eight centuries until it broke up under barbarian invasions in the 4th-5th centuries AD. The effects emanating from impact from the Italian city-states during the Renaissance were equally widespread. From the 15th to the 18th century Italian lands were ruled by France, the Holy Roman Empire, Spain and Austria. The Risorgimento united most of Italy, and unification was completed by 1870. Italy sided with the Allies in World War I, but social unrest in the 1920s brought the Fascists under Mussolini to power, and Italy formed the Axis with Germany in World War II. Since 1948 Italy has been a republic. It was one of the founding members of the European Economic Community in 1957.


State and society

Italy is the sixth largest country in the European Union. The Italian Republic is a parliamentary republic. The parliament consists of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic.


The official language is Italian, however German is also spoken in some regions close to the borders (Trentino Alto Adige), as are French (Valle d'Aosta) and Slovenian (Friuli Venezia Giulia). The number of foreigners living in Italy fluctuates due to clandestine immigration. It has been calculated that in 1999, there were 1,270,000 foreigners in Italy.


In 2002, 2.5 million families lived below the poverty line - this is 11% of all families. 926 000 households live in absolute poverty.



Italy is one of the G8-states, with a highly developed industrial base. Key exports are machinery and transport equipment, followed by agricultural products, and energy. Italy is still marked by the stark contrast between the North, with its industry and highly-developed services sector, and the rural South.