U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Albania

Albania (Tier 2)

Albania is a country of origin for women and girls trafficked transnationally and internally for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation; it is no longer considered a major country of transit, and it is not a significant country of destination. Albanian victims are trafficked to Greece and Italy, with many trafficked onward to the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Norway, Germany and the Netherlands. Internal sex trafficking of women and children is on the rise.

The Government of Albania does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government continued to show a significant effort to prosecute and convict traffickers, created a nationwide toll-free help line, and ratified a bilateral anti-child trafficking agreement with Greece. The government has not instituted a victim case-tracking database that should form the core of its national referral mechanism, which would greatly improve care for trafficking victims. Reintegration and rehabilitation services remain critical to prevent the re-trafficking of Albanian citizens. The government should continue implementation of its national action, and vigorously investigate and prosecute trafficking-related corruption at all levels of law enforcement.


The Government of Albania continued to vigorously investigate and prosecute trafficking in 2006. Albania criminally prohibits sex and labor trafficking through its penal code. Penalties prescribed for trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation exceed those for rape. The laws prescribe penalties for both labor and sex trafficking that are sufficiently stringent. The police referred 51 new trafficking cases to the General Prosecutor's Office, which investigated 65 people on charges related to trafficking. Forty-three cases were referred to the Serious Crimes Court, where there were 62 prosecutions and 57 convictions for trafficking. Four offenders were sentenced to up to two years' imprisonment; 10 were sentenced to between two and five years' imprisonment; 26 were sentenced to between 5 and 10 years' imprisonment; and 25 were sentenced to over 10 years' imprisonment. In 2006, the British operator of an orphanage was arrested on charges of child molestation and trafficking for offering Albanian children for sexual exploitation to foreign pedophiles visiting Albania specifically for sex with children. Some police officers, customs officials, and border police facilitated trafficking by accepting bribes, tipping off traffickers, and furnishing travel documents to traffickers. Lawyers and judges allegedly are bribed, permitting traffickers to buy their way out of punishment if arrested. One police official was arrested for helping an arrested trafficker go free. Four border police officers were arrested for corruption and abuse of power.


The Government of Albania continued its modest efforts to protect and reintegrate victims of trafficking during 2006. Albania encourages victims to testify against traffickers, but they often refuse as a result of intimidation by traffickers. In 2006, only 20 out of 227 suspected or identified trafficking victims offered testimony against their traffickers. Albanian law allows victims to file civil lawsuits; victims generally do not initiate these due to their distrust of the police and judiciary. The government does not penalize victims of trafficking for unlawful acts committed as part of their being trafficked. There is currently no legal provision for granting temporary or permanent residency to third-country victims of trafficking; victims could apply for asylum. The government in 2006 drafted legislation as part of its Law on Foreigners that will address this issue. NGOs and international organizations administered and funded the majority of victim services; however, the government provided facilities and staff and helped refer victims. The government's National Victim Referral Center provided assistance to 46 Albanian and third-country national trafficking victims; many were transferred to other shelters for reintegration. Albania ratified a bilateral agreement with Greece to assist with the return of child trafficking victims.


The Government of Albania made progress in anti-trafficking prevention and awareness activities during 2006, but relied primarily on NGOs and international organizations for financial support. The government, with support from IOM and UNODC, carried out a limited campaign to help launch the opening of an anti-trafficking hotline to publicize the hotline's number and raise awareness among potential victims. In the first two months of operations, the hotline received 11 actionable calls pertaining to trafficking. With support of the ILO, the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities implemented a micro-loan program for female trafficking victims to assist them in starting small businesses, foster reintegration, and prevent re-trafficking.


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