Shoqata Shqiptare Per Vajza Dhe Gra
(Association of Albanian Girls and Women)
The “Association of Albanian Girls and Women” (AAGW) is an organization created in 2003 by and for victims of human trafficking in Albania. It is estimated that there are over 10,000 Albanian girls and women who are currently or who formerly have been victims of illegal trafficking for the purpose of enforced prostitution, one third of whom are younger than eighteen. More victims are arriving all the time. Our average age is seventeen; the youngest girls have been twelve. We are the beneficiaries of AAGW, but we are also its members and leaders.
A primary aim of AAGW is to help former victims of trafficking reintegrate into Albanian society. We promote this goal by supplementing and supporting job training, job placement, and handicraft production programs. Equally important, since we are an organization run by and for trafficked women, our daily operation also offers important leadership and managerial experience and provides a voice for us in Albanian society.
AAGW is a tool for personal empowerment. We have been robbed of our human dignity. AAGW helps us restore it. We are the experts on trafficking; we know best how to determine our own needs and propose solutions for lasting change. AAGW gives us this opportunity.
D. Sh., Director
D. Sh. is the Director of AAGW. She received a BA in English from Tirana University and has worked as a high school English teacher in Albania as well as a health educator, community developer, and social worker for Caritas Switzerland, Caritas Germany, Kinderhaus, and the International Organization of Migration (IOM). D.Sh. has been working with victims of human trafficking for over twelve years. For reasons of security, her name may not be publicized on this website.
Amy L. Sebes, Founder
Amy has been a high school English, Psychology, and Critical Thinking teacher for the past three decades in six U.S. states and six countries. She drafted the national anti-trafficking curriculum that has been used in selected Albanian middle and high schools for many years. She has served as an editor of numerous English language teaching materials and taught English on TV as part of the Educational Broadcasting Service in Korea. In addition to her social work with trafficking victims in Albania, she has also worked with former political prisoners in Burma, orphans in India’s largest slum, and at-risk high school students in Arlington, VA.
E.C. is the ninth elected president of AAGW. Elections are an important step in empowering our members. E. is 21 years old and came to the shelter when she was 19. For reasons of security, her identity must be kept private in her country.
Linda Reid, Director of Communications
Linda has been a volunteer with AAGW since its founding, eager to assist in a small way the efforts of her longtime college friends with helping victims of trafficking in Albania. She spent 20 years working in college and Olympic sports publicity and now is a college and grad school admissions essay editor. In addition to sitting on the steering committee for the non-profit John R. Wooden Award, Linda has served on the Board of Education of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District in California since 2014.
Alison McGann, Technology Director
Alison met AAGW founder Amy Sebes while at Stanford University, and Alison has also been a volunteer with AAGW since its founding. After earning her MA, Alison spent 10+ years as a researcher at NASA investigating aviation safety and automation issues. She's held several volunteer positions in her local community and currently works for Mission College in Santa Clara, California.
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