U.S. Department of State 2002 Trafficking in Persons Report - Albania

Albania (Tier 2)

Albania is a source and transit country primarily for women and girls trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation to Italy and Greece, and on to other EU countries, such as Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. Victims transiting Albania come mostly from Romania and Moldova, with smaller numbers from Bulgaria and Ukraine. Young boys are also reportedly trafficked from Albania to work as beggars in Italy and Greece.

The Government of Albania does not yet fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The Penal Code prohibits trafficking. Despite a severe lack of resources, the Government arrested 96 people for trafficking crimes from December 2000 to October 2001, and the frequency of arrests continues to rise. Of these, there were at least 12 convictions, with 9 receiving minimal prison sentences. Prosecutors blame the low conviction rate on lack of evidence. With the exception of three people convicted in abstentia for trafficking in persons in February 2002, all convictions to date have been for reduced charges such as promoting prostitution. The Anti-Trafficking Sector and the Organized Crime Sector investigate trafficking. However, police corruption hinders anti-trafficking efforts. The Office of Internal Control investigates police participation, but according to a study by international organizations, 10 percent of foreign victims trafficked through Albania reported that police were directly involved. Few police or government officials are prosecuted. Regionally, the government cooperates with other governments through an international organization and exchanged information on 15 trafficking cases in 2001. With respect to protection, the police no longer treat victims as criminals and instead, routinely refer victims to NGO and international organization shelters. With assistance from NGOs and local businesses, the chiefs of police in Fier and Durres established within their prefectures temporary shelters for witness protection. The Government does not, however, have a comprehensive witness protection program. There are no government-sponsored prevention efforts, but the Anti-Trafficking Sector is preparing a study of trafficking patterns and methods, which may aid in future prevention strategies.


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