Police in Venice discovered an undocumented five-year-old hidden in the suitcase of a man getting off a ferry in Venice that had arrived from Greece.
Ali Shaker, 35, from Afghanistan, told police he was a family friend who had been asked by the boy's parents to take him to some relatives in Germany.
Border patrol agent Antonio De Franchis found the boy, called Assiim, and told AFP that Mr Shaker was "incredibly calm" when he opened the suitcase.
According to timeslive.co.za, he added: "The boy obviously seemed scared and exhausted. We don't know how many hours he spent inside the suitcase."
He guessed that the boys' journey could have lasted for three months. Assim, believed to be from the Hazara ethnic group from central Afghanistan, is now being looked after by a non-governmental association in Venice, while Italian judges try to contact his parents to verify Mr Shaker's story.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Ali Shaker is currently under house arrest, charged with aiding undocumented immigration.
Gang smuggling migrants to UK on Easyjet and Ryanair arrested