In a silk black dress and knotted neck scarf at this week’s F4D First Ladies Luncheon, Beatrice Borromeo Casiraghi never let on that she was still on the mend after knee surgery.
But the European investigative reporter and documentary filmmaker is not one to ease up on life. So she chalked up the sledding accident in Switzerland that led to a broken knee as “just unfortunate” and carries on. Along with her career and responsibilities as F4D’s Special Envoy for Human Rights, Casiraghi and her husband Pierre have a six-month-old son Stefano. “He is the best. I am having the time of my life,” she said, “Honestly for nothing else in the world would I have left him for three days.”
The journalist previewed a clip of her new documentary “Never Children,” which debuts on Sky Media in Italy on Oct. 1. She spent months in Caivano, Italy, “one of the Mafia’s biggest strongholds,” chronicling the story of four children living in a drug-infested city located between Rome and Italy. “This is where the Mafia stockpiles heroin for basically the whole of Europe. It is the place drug dealers go to buy drugs, not normal people. The life of children there is insane. They get recruited very early on, when they are 12 or 13. They turn into lookouts, hide drugs, transport drugs and there is absolutely nothing that saves them,” she said.
“My film is called ‘Never Children’ because they have no chance of living as children. If they go outdoors, there are shootings, drug-related crimes of every kind, and a network of pedophiles operating in that neighborhood. There were 12 cases in the last two years, and two children died because of that. It’s just a nightmare of a place for someone to be a child,” the filmmaker said. (A series about her Mafia investigations is in development.)
The documentary details how a local teacher was successfully helping students stay on the straight and narrow, and retrieving them from the dangerous streets. “The local mayor decided to shut down the school because it was working too well. This is a sad conclusion. Now basically all of the children in the film dropped out of school as well. They were left in a place where being a child is just not an option.” she said. “I actually interviewed the minister of education at that time. She told me, ‘It’s outrageous. They can’t close the school.’ I said, ‘Why don’t you do something?” She told me, ‘We’re just powerless here.'”
Recalling how she visited a pedophile victim in hiding, Casiraghi said, “At any moment, armed people could have broken in. And I was seven months pregnant at that time. They were really terrified, checking the main entrance [to be safe.] Nothing happened, thank God. I wrote an article and they arrested the guy the next day. So there is a power that the press can have in these situations. Sometimes it works. Most of the time, honestly, it does not.”
Reporting with only one cameraman, she laughed at the idea of wearing a protective vest. “Worst case scenario — they slap you and break your camera. It’s not really a life-threatening type of situation,” she said.”It’s not as though all of a sudden it’s super-dangerous. You know what you’re doing and then you decide to take the risk or not. Last year I didn’t want to take too many because I was pregnant.”
Her husband, the son of Princess Caroline, has his own endeavors, albeit athletic ones, that are terrifying to her. “He sails on the GC32s, the fastest boats in the world that are the same boats used in the America’s Cup. Now he’s opened a medieval combat club so he does medieval combat,” she said. “In the end, we look at each other and say, ‘We’re just going to have to accept who we are and pray.'”