Postcard from... Rome


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The Independent Online

Alessandra Mussolini, the granddaughter of Italy’s Fascist dictator, usually has something to say about everything. This might entail bombarding the Senate with her right-wing opinions or telling journalists how the arrival of a daughter meant that her husband had to leave his job in the police for a cushy number with the state railways.

But today she was keeping a low profile after it emerged that her partner, Mauro Floriani, had been linked to a major child-prostitution scandal. He has denied any wrongdoing.

 Mr Floriani is a former member of the finance police, where he was nicknamed Captain Mussolini, and holds a senior post with the state rail operator Trenitalia. Investigators said he is under suspicion because police found his contact details on the mobile phones of two child prostitutes. The schoolgirls, aged 14 and 15, were from Rome’s well-to-do Parioli district and were selling sex to buy designer clothes and mobile phones. The scandal shocked the capital’s middle classes when it broke last October. 

The pair apparently went to school in the mornings then prostituted themselves with middle-class clients in the afternoons, each earning up to €600 (£502) a day. So far police have arrested five people – one girl’s mother, who is alleged to have encouraged the prostitution. Investigators have their sights on 20 people, including Mr Floriani.

The Italian unit of the international child protection agency, ECPAT, said there could be as many as 11,000 minors involved in prostitution in Italy.