Migrants wait in front of the Trieste prefect's office | Photo: Archive/ANSA/Alice Rita Fumis/FMS
Migrants wait in front of the Trieste prefect's office | Photo: Archive/ANSA/Alice Rita Fumis/FMS

New items of surveillance equipment known as 'camera traps' are to be installed along the border between Slovenia and Italy. The devices will be used to detect undocumented migrants and smugglers on this part of the so-called Balkans route.

A total of 65 cameras, bought by the Friuli Venezia Giulia regional government in 2021, are to be delivered to local police in Trieste. They will then be distributed to other security forces: 59 to the regional capital (20 to the police headquarters, 10 to the provincial command of the carabinieri, 10 to the financial police and the rest to the local police). Some of the remaining 15 will be given to the Gorizia police headquarters.

Not just to stop undocumented migrants

The equipment is intended to counter undocumented migration and facilitate readmission into Slovenia, once it has been proved that the migrant entered Italy in an undocumented manner from the bordering country. However, the devices will probably not be used only in the forested areas of the border crossing, as they can be moved easily and have solar-powered batteries, and thus will also be used for other police functions.

Trieste police commissioner Pietro Ostuni has said that the cameras might also be entrusted to the flying squad, the general prevention office and police stations with the aim of countering crimes including theft and drug trafficking. They might also be used to counter such things as littering and vandalism.

Opposing views

Friuli Venezia Giulia regional president Massimiliano Fedriga noted in relation to the cameras that "managing to intercept the routes of undocumented migration and smugglers is important and, I must say, a determined step against those involved in human trafficking and those making money from it."

Gorizia police commissioner Paolo Gropuzzo agreed, but he noted that while the cameras make it possible to document the crossing of migrants, if they ask for asylum, from a legal point of view, there will be no change from what is happening now. The regional security councillor Pierpaolo Roberti, a staunch backer of the initiative, expressed his approval.

However, an NGO supporting refugees and asylum seekers, Italian Consortium of Solidarity (ICS), was sceptical. "It has yet to be shown that this will help identify the traffickers," a spokesperson said. "Often, the migrants arrive in cars or vans and do not go through the woods," he added.


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