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23 August 2017
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Italian PM Berlusconi named in U.S. human trafficking report

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi...

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been named in a U.S. government report on people trafficking over his alleged sexual relationship with underage Moroccan belly dancer Karima El Mahroug, known as Ruby, according to RIA Novosti.

“In February 2011, judges set a trial date for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for the alleged commercial sexual exploitation of a Moroccan child,” the report said. Based on media reports citing “evidence of third party involvement in the case,” the document`s authors came to the conclusion that “the girl was a victim of trafficking.”

Berlusconi, 75, is accused of having sexual relations with Ruby during one of his now infamous "bunga bunga" parties at his luxurious villa near Milan when the girl was only 17 years old. She is believed to have been one of more than 30 women to attend Berlusconi’s parties.

“During the reporting period, the country`s (Italy) prime minister was investigated for facilitating child prostitution,” the document, published on the U.S. Department of State website, reads.

The annual Trafficking in Persons Report is compiled from reports on human trafficking from 180 countries.

Italian opposition lawmakers have described Berlusconi’s inclusion in the report as "another shameful insult" for Italy.

Berlusconi`s trial for underage prostitution is to resume in Milan next month. Both he and his alleged victim have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

In mid-October, Berlusconi, who has been facing repeated calls for his resignation from his political rivals, won a crucial confidence vote in parliament, which could have forced him to step down about one and half years before the end of his term.

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