di Marcello Mento
New York, May 14 - Italy is playing a front-line role in combating human trafficking, a top Italian representative to the United Nations said Tuesday during a speech to the General Assembly. "The trafficking of human beings is an affront to the dignity of individuals and a serious violation of the human rights of its victims - especially women and children," Ambassador Antonio Bernardini said. Bernardini pointed out how Italy has long "combated this shameful crime" and how the country has long given priority to protecting its victims, as well as to working to combat it on an international level. Domestically, Bernardini said that Italy had focused on prevention, helping its victims and strengthening judicial cooperation. However, in the international arena, Bernardini said that "the fundamental instrument" is the UN's convention against transnational organized crime and the various associated protocols, including those dedicated to women and minors, to their physical and psychological assistance and to help in being inserted into normal lives in host countries.