Theme of the year: Liberation of trafficked and exploited women

The 2020 “On the side of the least. Father Oreste Benzi International Award” will be conferred to a living individual, existing Association or Body who displayed exemplary dedication to the liberation of trafficked and exploited women, consistent with the thought, values and commitment embodied by Father Oreste Benzi. The following characteristics will be particularly valued:

– A firm belief that, as Father Oreste Benzi used to say, “no woman is born a prostitute”, but there’s always a person or a situation – either personal, economic or social – that induced her to become one. This will consequently result in taking the side of women who, in the prostitution system, are victims of trafficking and gender-based violence, and in working for the recognition of their inherent human rights, as highlighted in the 1949 UN Convention for the suppression of the traffic in persons and of the exploitation of the prostitution of others.

– Working for the protection, rehabilitation and full integration of the victims of trafficking: this is  a crime against humanity that endangers the welfare of individuals, families and whole society. Examples of this active work include: creation of mobile street units to reach out to the victims; listening centers and reception networks for their protection and rehabilitation; development of paths to integration and work and social inclusion projects to help the survivors play an active role in society.

– An exemplary commitment in trying to remove the causes of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. This may include: actions to combat traffickers and sexual exploiters in synergy with the institutions involved; initiatives aimed at clients, at those who commit acts of gender-based violence, and at all those who fuel the demand for prostitution; development of awareness-raising projects for the general public and specific educational paths for young generations; activities and actions aimed at defending women’s dignity, as encouraged by the 2011 Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), at a cultural and social level, as well as in the political and legislative fields.