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About Sex Trafficking

As in many other countries, Albanian girls fall victim to this type of sexual exploitation through a combination of deception and violence. In typical scenarios, our female beneficiaries have been tricked into thinking they have been hired for a legitimate job as a domestic worker, waitress, or nanny in a Western European country. Traffickers have recently shifted recruitment tactics to online networks utilizing social media with fake profiles and promises of high salaries and a better life. 

Once in the hands of the trafficker, however, victims are abused, raped and forcibly smuggled out of Albania, their passports and official documents taken.  Survivors are paid little or nothing for their work and are deprived of food or beaten if they do not comply. Traffickers also threaten the lives of family members of survivors and tell the girls that if they try to leave, their family members in Albania will be killed.  In other documented cases, girls who refused to prostitute themselves or tried to escape were killed. 

Woman with hands up.webp
Woman tied up with rope.webp

As reported over the last five years, Albanian victims have been trafficked to other European countries, especially Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Kosovo, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (UK)[1]. Traffickers also use Albanian women and children in sex trafficking and forced labor within the country, especially during the tourist season. In these cases, traffickers use false promises such as offers of marriage or hotel/restaurant employment to lure and exploit their victims.

Recently, there has been a rise in foreign victims of sex trafficking and forced labor in Albania from other European countries, Gambia, and the Philippines. Undocumented migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees have been especially vulnerable to trafficking. In many cases, identification tools such as passports are taken from them, and contact with

family members is denied. Unable to understand the Albanian language, they find it difficult to orient themselves to escape and have no information on how to ask for help.

Prosecution of traffickers remains difficult. Survivors are rightly afraid to report because traffickers may harm them and their family members. Despite significant government efforts, corruption and high levels of turnover within the police force hamper law enforcement actions to address trafficking, and official complicity in trafficking crimes remains a significant concern. The government also lacks resources for long-term care, employment, and other reintegration efforts for survivors.  For more information, see the 2023 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report Albania.

Survivors at the shelter are in different stages of post-traumatic stress. Their stories are so painful and the trauma so intense that the social workers assisting them need secondary counseling to cope.  D & E provides a full range of emotional, medical, and legal support. The amount of time spent in the shelter varies from woman to woman, but when a survivor is ready, she begins the transition out of the shelter.  Due to the stigma associated with prostitution, many survivors face a difficult struggle to build a new life. 

Top 5 Facts About Human Trafficking 

  1. There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today.

  2. There are more human slaves in the world today than ever before in history.

  3. According to the U.S. State Department, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, of which 80% are female and 50% are under the age of 16.

  4. Trafficking involves exploitation which comes in many forms including: forcing victims into prostitution, subjecting victims to involuntary servitude, and compelling victims to commit sex acts for the purpose of creating pornography.

  5. Globally, the average cost of a slave is $90.

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