Supreme Court: refugee status for a trafficking victim

Previous judgments that attributed tacit consent to the prostituted woman have been overturned: this must be excluded when there is physical and psychological violence. Even if translated into the neutral language of law, women's work opens up new avenues
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The Court of Cassation's judgment 676/2022 granted refugee status to a woman who had been trafficked (and prostituted).

In the third instance it was overturned the structure of previous judgments that attributed to the woman a tacit consent to the exercise of prostitution, thus the inexistence of the state of necessity that preludes the granting of refugee status (temporary, it should be stressed). In fact, it is said that consent cannot be considered as such in a condition of physical and psychological violence inherent in the ways of traffickers.

The judgment in its wording opens up a concrete perspective in the enforceability of women's rights, although it never - and necessarily - refers directly to the sources (the indications of the Istanbul Convention, the Elvira Reale's scientific work on psychological violence and several feminist appeals for the protection of immigrant women). Sexual language is never used, and on the contrary, it always maintains the neutral language of law and the universalistic direction of the conclusions (so much so that reference is made to trans and homosexual men).

Thanks to a woman a way forward is opened for all those men and women who seemed to be excluded from refugee status. 

Many of us have long argued that despite the 'neutral' framework of immigration laws, it can be a sexuation of reception policies was immediately implemented, once the institutional inability to remove women and children from organised crime networks was recognised. This judgement shows that, despite a general blind approach, women's work, in unexpected ways, opens up doors.

For example, in the cases of gang rapeThe discouraging length of the trial process is largely due to the ascertainment of the consent of the victim, who evidently could not give it except, in some cases, because he was extorted and induced by fear and the desire for the torture to finally end.

Interesting that it comes incorporated the principle of non-subjective vulnerability, but induced by the prostitution network. This question is more dense than it might appear: it is in fact closely related to being born a woman. It is women as such who are manipulated already at the point of entry into trafficking, simply because they are women and therefore 'inherently' destined for the prostitution market.

Politicians no longer deal with the application of the Merlin Law, they apply the Istanbul Convention little and badly. This ruling gives women a chance, but also - above all - a chance to make a difference.inadequacy of male politics.

Stefania Cantatore

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