Last week Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced the Italian government is introducing prison sentences ranging from 20 to 30 years for human traffickers who cause the deaths of migrants as a part of new regulations aimed at tackling illegal immigration.
After the cabinet meeting in the small town, PM Meloni unveiled the new regulations at a press conference in Cutro, Calabria. This was the scene of the February 26 boat disaster where a boat that had set sail from İzmir, Turkey, a few days earlier sank off the southern coast Italy. More than 100 people were aboard the boat when it sank, and they were from Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Meloni announced that ministers had unanimously agreed to toughen penalties for traffickers by introducing a new law explicitly punishing bodily harm or death to people being illegally transported.
“If anyone thinks that the tragedy of Feb. 26 has deterred the government from its migration policy, they are sadly mistaken. We are moving forward on the path we have taken, proving that we are pursuing a responsible policy and breaking the slavery operations run by criminal organizations of people smugglers,” said Meloni.
She added that her government would fight against human traffickers around the world. According to the government’s decision, people smugglers can be sentenced to five to 16 years in prison for transporting illegal migrants and fined €15,000 for each migrant. If migrants suffer bodily harm on the sea or land route, traffickers risk between 10 and 20 years in prison, and if they cause the death of one person, they face a sentence of between 15 and 20 years. If more than one migrant is killed simultaneously, the penalty rises between 20 and 30 years.
Meloni also said that the government wants to reintroduce the migration-security law package, named after former interior minister Matteo Salvini, which was introduced in 2018 and then abolished by the subsequent left-wing government. According to Remix News, the Salvini package included closing ports and banning civilian vessels.