U.S. Department report on Trafficking in Persons: Albania on Tier 2

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 26, 2020 10:43

U.S. Department report on Trafficking in Persons: Albania on Tier 2

TIRANA, June 26 - The Government of Albania does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so, therefore it remains on Tier 2, according to the 2020 Trafficking in Persons Reportby the U.S. Department of State.

The Deparment states that Albania made improvements in terms of "sentencing convicted traffickers to significant prison terms, identifying more victims, and providing robust training for relevant officials." However, it also refers to the conviction of five traffickers in both 2018 and 2019, which marks the lowest number of convictions since 2014.

"The government lacked screening efforts for vulnerable populations—particularly migrants, asylum-seekers, individuals in commercial sex, and children—and authorities did not consistently participate in mobile victim identification units," the report states, adding that the government continued to delay funding for NGO-run shelters, and social services lacked resources for long-term care and reintegration efforts, particularly for child victims and victims with children.

The report assesses the sentences given with 8-15 years in prison for trafficking an adult victim and 10-20 years for a juvenile victim. Unlike in previous years, the government has not deliberately prosecuted victims, the report said, but there have been cases where victims have continued to be punished, as not enough work has been done to identify the trafficker and the victim.

Yet, the government, according to the U.S. State Department report, continues to not implement a practice of criminal investigation and prosecution guided by the intent to ensure the welfare of the victim.

The problem of human trafficking in Albania during the last five years remains related to the exploitation of Albanian and foreign victims both inside the country and abroad. Women and children are exploited in the sex trade and forced labor within the country, with false promises of marriage or work. Children are often used for forced begging on the street. There have also been few reports of child exploitation in cannabis cultivation.

In this line, the U.S. Department recommends that authorities investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers, increase efforts to screen vulnerable populations and train officials on proactive identification of victims as well as institutionalize and provide training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and judicial officials on investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases.

Furthermore, it urges the Albanian government to create funding mechanisms that allocate adequate funding and resources regularly to the government-run and NGO run shelters for trafficking victims and increase reintegration services for child victims, in addition to implementing victim-centered approaches and victim-witness protection measures during investigation, prosecution, and court proceedings.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 26, 2020 10:43