Often this is because financial transactions were not recorded as thoroughly as they are in Belgium, he explains, but he cannot rule out that corruption also plays a role. However, victims often decide not to testify or withdraw testimony because they cannot face a drawn-out court case and fear vengeance from the traffickers. He would threaten to kill my family if I didn't make 1, [Swiss] francs every night," she said. It also notes that when the report was published, in July, "a sitting member of [the Albanian] parliament had prior convictions for trafficking-related crimes". Ranging in age from 14 to 35, girls trafficked from Albania are among the youngest victims worldwide, with as many as 80 percent of them younger than 18, according to a Save the Children report. Maria, from the Malesia e Madhe region in northern Albania, was only 16 when her father married her to an older man. Children who are returned to the Albanian border from Greece are oftentimes at high risk of being re-trafficked.
According to official statistics, in the first six months of the year, criminal proceedings were registered with the Serious Crimes Prosecutor's Office relating to charges of trafficking women for prostitution, and five to charges of trafficking children. However, victims often decide not to testify or withdraw testimony because they cannot face a drawn-out court case and fear vengeance from the traffickers. Vera's mother took her own life in The Ministry of Public Order estimated that within an 8-year period , some 4, children were trafficked from Albania, mostly for domestic work, begging and agriculture. Back in Tirana, Dolores Musabelliu at the prosecutor's office says Albanian authorities face their own problems getting information from foreign countries for complex investigations. In the Belgian city of Antwerp, Patsy Sorensen, the director of Payoke, a charity that helps trafficking victims, can point to dozens of examples of women reintegrating into Belgian society. Hysni Sokolaj, a year old man from the town of Tropoje, was found guilty in absentia in of human trafficking and prostitution. Boys and girls are trafficked to Italy and Greece to participate in organized begging rings and forced labor, including work in agriculture and construction. In , British police declared Sokolaj one of the most wanted foreign nationals in the country. Women she knows have found work as cleaners and shop assistants. In , after he was deported from Britain as an illegal alien, the woman returned to Albania, found refuge at the centre for trafficking victims in Vlora and filed charges against him. Sobering as they are, the statistics tell only a small fraction of a bigger story. Eva returned to Albania for a while but decided to go back to Belgium and work again in the sex trade. Following protests from victims' support groups, the case was transferred to the Serious Crimes Prosecutor's Office in Tirana. It also notes that when the report was published, in July, "a sitting member of [the Albanian] parliament had prior convictions for trafficking-related crimes". For Albanians, It's Come to This: Sokolaj's lawyer, Ferit Muca, says his client, who does not live in Albania any more, has always maintained he is not guilty. And here I can earn much more. Brought in via Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, or Macedonia, they are bought and sold in Albania before being sent to the port cities of Durres or Vlora for passage to Italy. The charges against him were filed on the basis of manipulations by prosecutors. Abused by their families A previously unpublished Albanian police report from , obtained by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, says at least 5, women and girls were trafficked to be exploited as sex workers between and According to TdH, children, mostly from Romani and Egyptian communities, were increasingly trafficked for begging by their parents without the involvement of a third party. Traffickers in sex slaves hold girls kidnapped from as far away as Romania here before they are shipped across the Adriatic to Italy, according to the Albanian Interior Ministry. To a lesser extent, family members of neighbors sold victims—particularly Romani children—to traffickers or traffickers kidnapped children, including from orphanages Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child CRC UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 28 January sim. Anila Trimi, an anti-trafficking expert with the Albanian state police, tells BIRN the brothers were part of a larger, well-structured criminal organisation and investigations continue into other possible members of the group. According to the Terre des hommes report, trafficking of Albanian children specifically to Greece appears to be on a decline. The US accuses Albanian authorities of failing to tackle sex-trafficking Photo:
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