According to the annual report of the US State Department on the trafficking of persons, Albania has become a source and transit country for human trafficking in the last five years, part of an itinerary that smuggles people from Central Asia and Africa to Western Europe.
The report finds, among other issues, that the Albanian state does not comply with the minimum level of standards to eliminate human trafficking.
According to the US State Department’s report, Albania needs to improve and implement the law for the protection of human trafficking victims and offer them more support, also by financially supporting non-governmental organizations that work in this field.
The report further details that:
- In 2016 the Albanian government for the first time used the “special fund” for the protection of trafficking victims;
- In many cases the police fails to identify cases of trafficking or its victims;
- In at least two cases, trafficking victims were investigated and punished for illegal acts committed as the result of being trafficked, even though the law excludes the prosecution of such crimes;
- In 2015, the government has lowered the funds for the only state shelter from €186,000 to €169,000 for 2016.
The following actions are recommended:
- Completing and implementing the law that excludes victims of trafficking from prosecution for illegal acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked;
- Training police officers, inspectors, and other officials to identify trafficking victims as early as possible;
- Bringing perpetrators of human trafficking to justice;
- Protecting the victims from threats while the traffickers are in court.