“We need to tear the veil of hypocrisy that covers our eyes. We must stop worrying about the privacy of a single person and deliberately ignore the fact that enslaved girls are being ‘raped’ as well as the eyes and minds of our children who watch and do not understand … Who protects their rights?”.
Antonio Luciani, mayor of Francavilla a Mare and lawyer, has become a symbol of the fight against prostitution after launching on facebook the “competition” to create 6×3 metres billboards with pictures of customers of prostitutes; snapshots that will be made by the same citizens, tired of prostitution. A slap to the general indifference on the subject of human trafficking. Already several years ago, Father Oreste Benzi, founder of the Community of Pope John XXIII, called customers accomplices of criminals in the trafficking of human beings. A life – Don Oreste’s one – spent freeing girls from slavery, in the belief that only by hitting the question those chains could be broken. Luciani is now in the forefront fighting against the phenomenon. A cultural battle, even before being administrative or legal: “We must address the problem shaking consciences, and to do that it is not enough to make generic controls over the territory. I will not talk about legalization, but certainly you cannot stand idly by and do nothing.”
The decision to get the public pillory – in ways that are currently being considered by the Administration – was not sudden. Indeed, the path was quite long.
“I thought before working with traditional measures. Our city historically is not touched by the phenomenon, but in recent times it has been intensifying. Then I too have increased checks on the territory, but without success. Then we moved on to the next step: to find customers, I believe this is the only way to fight the crime. I then issued an order to protect the viability and the safety of those who are on the roads, which includes fines up to € 480 for those who cause traffic obstruction. Already ten fines in a few days, and you know what we saw? These are the only penalties paid immediately… ”
Despite this, the number of the girls continued to increase; evidently the crime organization behind the phenomenon had decided that Francavilla, charming town with just 25,000 inhabitants, was to become a sort of base camp.
So even the police are equipped: patrols are intensified, principals fixed in the hot zones (until midnight with the flashing lights of the police, then at night with the help of the police). An enormous amount of people and vehicles, a huge cost to society; also considering the fact that to guard that portion of territory inevitably they leave uncovered others…
“For I am convinced that neither repression nor the static prevention, are the solution. That instead is to reset the demand. Now let’s see if things will change showing pictures of the ones who buy the body of a human being in our country”.
A planned solution but not yet operational… “Some people have already sent me the material, but I think it’s fair that I should take the responsibility for the first photo on the billboard. So if there should be consequences, they would fall not on the shoulders of a resident but on mine.”
But what kinds of reaction there were to this “provocation”? The female population largely applauded, the male was divided, especially using the excuse of privacy, which has become an excuse for whatever you want to do not being “disturbed”.
Also the mayors of neighboring towns were critic: “They did not like it. In fact, they claimed that they would consult legislators to understand the extent to which my action is legitimate … but I wonder: only now are they realizing that prostitution and slavery exist? Only now that I’ve raised the issue have the others started to discuss it? This is hypocrysy too, isn’t it?”.
Translation provided by Maria Rosaria Mastropaolo