Interview with Mirta da Pra

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Posted on December 10, 2015

Mirta Da Pra is a journalist, person in charge of Gruppo Abele’s Anti -Trafficking Project. She’s an expert in the field of the protection of victims of human trafficking and prostitution. She represented Italy at the Council of Europe and she is a member of Caritas co-group against human trafficking.

Gruppo Abele is a non-governmental organization founded in Turin in 1965 by Don Luigi Ciotti with the purpose of sharing and finding solutions to problems and issues of social exclusion. It is structured in four different departments: vulnerability and victims, residential care and drop-in centers, education and publishing sector. The departments manage 40 different activities and projects in order to implement tailored paths leading away from hardships and marginalization.


Regarding the present migration flows, how will the dynamics within the local communities change?

I would like to imagine good practices coming from suburbs and from marginal territories like the districts in the mountain. Many schools and other basic services are closing due to the low inhabitants’ rate. In these territories migrants are fundamental resources. The closeness of relations in these little places increases knowledge and well-being through the possibility of exchanging experiences and talents.

To achieve this, it’s necessary to listen to migrant’s needs. We have to consider their expectations and experiences. This is fundamental. We have to start to mediate, finding the point of connection between reality and the dreams of the people that forcibly leave their country. We have to be in the middle of this. Nowadays anybody is completely safe or comfortable. We have to seek this security together or there’s no security for anyone.


“In practice it doesn’t exist a clear difference between public and private. What is important is to develop intelligent partnership where each part recognizes its role”. Dr Lieve Fransen, European Commission. PPP can promote social innovation. How?

Gruppo Abele has always believed in two principles: the importance of working within the social world in order to make clear that the basic issues regarding people are run by the public sector recognizing an important role of social economy. All this with the aim to comprehend and experiment how and where the public isn’t arrived yet. The field in which the private sector has the main role is social innovation.

The public and the private sector have to work together in order to consolidate best practices. In many cities like Turin and Bologna this acknowledgement has been crucial, respecting the mutual fields of intervention.

It is important to make clear that the public sector has often used the private sector discretionally, not as a principle of participation. We need a good legislation where the presence of social economy is strong.


How do you think society will be in 20 years? Which will be your role?

I hope that our society in 20 years will be organized in different levels of speed. We live in a society where the majority of people lives too fast, where a lot of people don’t like to stay, a lot of people can’t live and where others live because they don’t have a choice. I think that a society forced by few is a society that isn’t able to see potentials and possibilities of interaction just because it’s too fast. In 20 years I imagine the migration issue in a different way. Migration is always difficult and it’s often a traumatic event. It’s not normal to start over again, leaving family behind. It’s always important to see the positive side in the process, the possibility to interact with different visions and cultures and I hope we will be able to do that. I hope there will be a society able to capitalize the different knowledges and experiences of people. Biodiversity gives us a fundamental lesson: when we lose some species we become poorer. This is the same for loosing knowledge in our society. This is what I want to imagine: a society able to valorize its own diversities.

My role is 20 years… I want to imagine having more time to get out of the fast highway to have the possibility to work with people and to be able to extent my experiences to others. It’s always important to elaborate our own knowledge and to make it useful for others.

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