Alfa model

Publish date 21-07-2022

by Simona Pagani

The Sermig is a place that is directly accessible and, for this reason, it is a privileged observatory for detecting social changes.

Between 2015 and 2016, the number of women who knocked on our door with the request to be helped to get out "from the street" grew exponentially: girls between 18 and 25 years old, almost all Nigerian, without documents, in Italy from a few years, no knowledge of the language and all victims of sexual exploitation. There were projects for victims of trafficking, but the places were few compared to such a large number of requests, and it was impossible to offer help to all. Thus, we started knocking on the door of the main public and non-public bodies of our city, bringing the voice of these women. We have found a lot of understanding, but no open doors. The Prefecture remained which, in those years, was grappling with a titanic job of finding places for the increasingly numerous migrants landed in Lampedusa.

We have known each other with Donatella for many years, she is a social worker, her mutual respect has always accompanied us. It is she who welcomed us and listened to us. We presented her with a crazy proposal: to re-admit these girls to the reception circuit managed by the Prefecture. Welcoming that the girls had been forced to abandon by the exploiters shortly after their arrival in Italy. Donatella does not close the door - «Let's try» - she replies. That same day we define that the girls will stay with us for an initial period: we will work on the motivation to undertake a trafficking liberation path, and then they will pass in the structures managed by the Prefecture. For two years we have operated in this way, informally, and together we have understood that this work was allowing the emergence of an incredible submerged.

In 2019, thanks to Donatella's heart, foresight and professionalism, what began as an artisan path became Alfa, a pilot project in Europe to combat trafficking in human beings, which involved with us other entities that the Region, the Judicial Authority, the Police Forces deal with "trafficking".

At the end of 2022, the "Alfa model" will become a National Project with the opening of new accommodations in all regions of Italy. From 2015 to today, 723 people have been able to offer hospitality, a path, a new possibility of life and redemption.

Simona Pagani

NP Marzo 2022

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