Italy's State-Driven Movement
ITALY WAS A MAJOR EMIGRATION COUNTRY from the late 1800s on and a sending country in the international traffic in women. Italians went overseas to North and South America, and to other countries within Europe, including France, Switzerland, and Germany, and women were up to 25 percent of those emigrating at the end of the nineteenth century.1 From 1901 to 1915, Italian emigration peaked, and after 1920 the flow shifted from overseas to other countries in Europe. Throughout this period, one aspect of this migration involved the movement of Italian women into brothels abroad. Along with Polish, French, and German women, Italian women were in Prostitution in Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay, Brazil, Algiers, Tunis, and Egypt.2
Italy was not a major receiving country for the traffic in women, but like France it did maintain a system of regulated Prostitution in metropolitan and colonial areas, and it had a proportion of women from neighboring countries in its brothels at home. In 1875, for example, 29 percent of the registered women in Prostitution in Venice had been born in another country, and from 1880 to 1885 nearly a quarter of registered women in Prostitution in Bologna were from another country, typically Austria, Germany, and France.3 In the interwar period, women in Prostitution continued to come from these countries, as well as from Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia.4 Italian brothels in colonial areas included Italian, other European, and indigenous women.
Regulation had been adopted by Prime Minister Cavour as a component of Italian unification in 1860, and Italian regulation was explicitly modeled on