“Always more” is the best expression to summarize the recent evolution of prostitution in Italy. There have been more sex buyers, more prostituted people, more and more prostituted minors, more locations, more forms, and more nationalities involved.
The number of sex buyers has increased significantly over the past ten years (from 3 million in 2014 to 9 million in 2017) (New Notizie, December 5, 2014; TPI, January 11, 2017). The number of prostituted persons has simultaneously increased, from around 90,000 in 2014 to 120,000 in 2017. More than half of them are of foreign origin, most of whom come from Nigeria (36%), Romania (22%), Albania (10.5%), Bulgaria (9%), and Moldova (7%) (Linkiesta, July 15, 2016). The number of Italians involved in prostitution is also reported to have increased (Cestrim, July 2017).
Street prostitution is the most common (65% of cases) (TPI, January 11, 2017). The phenomenon is spreading throughout the country. Even isolated cities, which previously didn’t experience street prostitution, are seeing an increase in the number of prostituted people. This is the case in Potenza, a southern city of 68,000 inhabitants, located near both coasts and thus exposed to the migration of foreigners, particularly from Nigeria through Naples. Between 2014 and 2017, the number of prostituted persons on the street went from 20 to 40 (Cestrim, July 2017).