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Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                                

The Republic of Albania

Albania, a formerly closed, centrally planned state, is a developing country with a modern open-market economy. Albania managed to weather the first waves of the global financial crisis but, the negative effects of the crisis caused a significant economic slowdown. Since 2014, Albania’s economy has steadily improved and economic growth reached 3.8% in 2017. However, close trade, remittance, and banking sector ties with Greece and Italy make Albania vulnerable to spillover effects of possible debt crises and weak growth in the euro zone.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2021]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Albania

Albania is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor, including forced begging. Albanian victims are trafficked primarily to Greece, and also to Italy, Macedonia, Kosovo, Spain, France, the U.K. and other Western European countries, as well as within Albania. Available data indicate that more than half the victims of trafficking are under the age of 18.   - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here or a full TIP Report here


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Albania.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to verify their authenticity or to validate their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include possible precursors of trafficking such as poverty. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims


Ministry of Interior (in cooperation with International Organization for Migration and UN Office on Drugs and Crime)
800 1212
Country code: 355-



Help the Children

Information and Research Centre for Children's Rights in Albania, Newsletter 224, June 5,2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 3 September 2011]

[accessed 22 April 2020]

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THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES THE ORGAN TRANSPLANTS IN ALBANIA - According to these articles, a clinic in Fieri city, practices the removal of the children organs to further transport them in Italy and France, with involvement by Italian and French groups and individuals», writes Karamanu in her letter. «According to the media, these doctors mobilise Albanian networks, which pay the children’s parents whose organs are removed. Apart form this, figures report 39 missing children with no trace in Albania and their parents making no effort to find them.

For Albanians, It's Come to This: A Son for a TV

Nicholas Wood, The New York Times, Durres, Albania, November 13, 2003

[accessed 18 January 2011]

[accessed 10 May 2021]

Fatmira Bonjaku's husband is in jail, accused by the police of selling their 3-year-old son to an Italian man in return for the television set that six other children watch in the family's dimly lighted room. The police also say her husband had plans to sell their newest born, whom she is breast feeding.

Over the past 12 years, since the collapse of Stalinism here, a substantial trade in children has established itself in Albania, Europe's most impoverished and long most isolated country.


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Albania

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 10 May 2021]


Some law enforcement organizations and the victim advocates at the prosecutors’ offices received training in a victim-centered approach to victims of human trafficking. The government continued to identify victims of forced labor and prosecuted and convicted a small number of traffickers.

The Labor Inspectorate reported no cases of forced labor in the formal sector during the year. See section 7.c. for cases involving children in forced labor in the informal sector.


Labor inspectors investigated the formal labor sector, whereas most child labor occurred in the informal sector. Children engaged in gathering recyclable metals and plastic, small-scale agricultural harvesting, selling small goods in the informal sector, serving drinks and food in bars and restaurants, the clothing industry, and mining. There were reports that children worked as shop vendors, vehicle washers, textile factory workers, or shoeshine boys. There were isolated reports of children subjected to forced labor in cannabis fields in 2019. The number of children engaged in street-related activities (such as begging or selling items) increased during the summer, particularly around tourist areas.

Children were subjected to forced begging and criminal activity. Some of the children begging on the street were second- or third-generation beggars. Research suggested that begging started as early as the age of four or five. While the law prohibits the exploitation of children for begging, police generally did not enforce it, although they made greater efforts to do so during the year.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 23 July 2020]


Albania has relatively robust labor laws, but lacks the capacity to enforce workplace safety and other protections. Conditions in the manufacturing, construction, and mining sectors are often substandard and put workers at risk.

While Albania continues to struggle with human trafficking, authorities are becoming more proactive in addressing the issue, with the US State Department’s 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report noting additional funding for victim coordinators and the adoption of a 2018–20 action plan. However, the department also warned that funding for shelters managed by NGOs was delayed during the reporting period.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 15 April 2019]

[accessed 22 April 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 114]

Children are trafficked internally in Albania and abroad to neighboring and EU countries for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor, including forced begging. (23; 27; 28; 9) Internal child trafficking and forced begging have increased in recent years, particularly during the tourist season. (23; 26; 27; 28) Street children, especially those from Egyptian and Roma communities, are incredibly vulnerable to becoming victims of human trafficking. (2; 3; 29; 30)

In addition, children in Albania informally collect chromium around the mines where debris from mine tunnels is found, and sometimes carry heavy rocks for miles. (16; 7; 17; 8; 19; 20) The work is not coerced, and parents are aware that their children collect chromium. (8).

"Vulnerability' To Human Trafficking: A Study Of Viet Nam, Albania, Nigeria And The UK

Patricia Hynes, Report of Shared Learning Event held in Tirana, Albania: 24-26 October 2017

[Long URL]

[accessed 13 February 2022]

This report describes the first stages of an ethically-led, two-year research study into understanding the causes, dynamics and ‘vulnerabilities’ to and resilience against human trafficking in three source countries– Albania, Viet Nam and Nigeria – plus the support needs of people from these countries who have experienced trafficking when identified as potential ‘victims’ of trafficking in the UK.

The Story of E.R.

True Stories, Anti-Trafficking Educational Curriculum, Association of Albanian Girls and Women - AAGW

[accessed 23 July 2013]

"My name is E.R. and I am from Elbasan. When I was 15, my parents married me, against my will, to a man aged 35, whom I did not love. So started my miseries.   Not too long afterwards, I abandoned him and returned to my family. But my parents did not accept me back because I had dishonored them by leaving my husband. I had no support and nowhere to go. I got acquainted with a boy who was 20 who said he loved me and promised to marry me. He convinced me to go to Italy for 'a better life.'   I thought my sufferings now were at an end, but I did not know the real hell that was expecting me. I was compelled to work on the street. I did so for nearly three years. My exploiter savagely battered me frequently, mainly when I did not bring home the required sum or when he faced drug trafficking problems.

Trafficking In Human Beings: Paradigms Of A Successful Reintegration Into Society (Albanian Case)

Ervin Muco, Ph.D., Universiteti i Tiranes, European Scientific Journal February 2013 edition vol.9, No.4 ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e-ISSN 1857-7431

[Long URL]

[accessed 16 February 2022]

The phenomenon of human trafficking in Albania has its origins after 1990 with the change of political system in Albania. Driven by the desire for a better lifestyle Albanian citizens began to immigrate to different countries of the world and a part of them will fall prey to organized crime networks. Among the factors that led to the birth and growth of human trafficking in Albania were: high levels of corruption in the justice system, lack of information, reduction of the system of values, the strong links between criminal groups and politics, low education level, weakening of the role of state in preserving order and management of borders, geographical position between East and West, economic hardship, lack of legislation.

Replenish rock band see “evils of human trafficking” in Albania

Inspire Magazine

[accessed 18 January 2011]

During the five-day trip, Ross Gill, Harun Kotch and Darren Lewis from the band Replenish met women and children who had been victims of trafficking, including Nazire*, a young woman who had been abducted at knifepoint and trafficked to Greece, where she was forced into prostitution. Nazire’s family was later able to secure her release but because she reported her kidnappers to the police, she and her family live in constant fear of reprisals.

Training Roma to combat human trafficking

Council of Europe Press Division, October 31, 2006

[accessed 1 September 2011

Through a contribution of the Norwegian and Finnish governments, the Council of Europe is organising training courses to prevent human trafficking of Roma from Albania, Moldova and Slovakia.

Albanian PM: government has aided human trafficking

Serbianna News, Tirana, June 26, 2006

[accessed 18 April 2012]

Widespread corruption in Albania's judicial system and government has exacerbated the country's human trafficking problem, Prime Minister Sali Berisha acknowledged on Monday, and criticized law enforcement authorities for not tackling the problem adequately.

Authorities arrest 80 mobsters operating between Italy and Albania

AP Worldstream, Rome, 12-13-2005

[partially accessed 18 January 2011 - access restricted]

Carabinieri in the Calabrian town of Catanzaro said the 'ndrangheta allowed the forced prostitution of girls from Eastern Europe in exchange for arms and drugs imported from Albania.  Dozens of the girls had been sold by their families, seized, or lured with promises of work or marriage, and had mostly crossed to Italy from Albania on clandestine boat trips, a police statement said

UN Special Rapporteur ends visit to Albania

Child Rights Information Network CRIN, Press release published by the SR, Jean-Miguel Petit, following his visit to Albania, 31 October - 7 November 2005

[accessed 10 January 2016]

In the area of child trafficking, Albania has several achievements to report: the legislative and policy frameworks are in place; there is more awareness in society; the police is better trained to deal and investigate this crime; border control improved; the establishment of the court of serious crimes and the prosecutors' office for serious crimes increased the prosecution capacity; NGOs gained a valuable expertise in delivering rehabilitation programs for victims of trafficking and in providing social services to communities. All this did not exist 5 years ago. They are important achievements.

UN expert fighting sex trafficking calls for child protection system in Albania

UN News Centre, November 8, 2005

[accessed 18 January 2011]

The new Government of Albania has improved the legal framework necessary to reduce the flow of trafficked children, but it must develop a national child protection system aimed at combating the poverty that drives exploitation, a United Nations human rights expert said after completing his visit to the Balkan country.

Balkans Urged To Curb Trafficking

Imogen Foulkes, BBC News, Geneva, March 31, 2005

[accessed 18 January 2011]

Countries in South-East Europe are failing to take effective measures against people trafficking, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) says.  A UNICEF report says that while countries in the region have strict anti-trafficking laws they do not tackle the root causes of the problem.

Children of the Stoplights

Discarded Lies, Winds of Change.NET, January 14, 2005

[accessed 18 January 2011]

The Greek government estimates that there are some 3,000 unaccompanied Albanian children in the country, with more coming during the summer months. In oral evidence about the trafficking of Albanian children to Greece, given to the Commission on Human Rights, Terre des Hommes representative Eylay Kadjar-Hamouda said, “A child earns a minimum of €30-€50 per day and gives all the money to his boss. A very small percentage is sent back to his family in Albania but in a very irregular way.

Albanian State Should Collaborate With NGOS

Rrezearta Ago, OneWorld Southeast Europe, February 10, 2005

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

Helga Konrad, OSCE Trafficking Representative, has declared that Albania is still far from fulfilling the standards and requirements of the European Union related to human trafficking, which remains at a high level.  That means that not only a plan compiled by the Government is needed, but also concrete steps towards its implementation.

Human Rights in Republic of Albania

Amnesty International Report 2007

[accessed 18 January 2011]

TRAFFICKING - Despite increased, and to some extent successful, measures to counter trafficking, Albania continued to be a source country for the trafficking of women, often minors, for sexual exploitation. Children, many of them Roma, continued to be trafficked to be exploited as beggars, for cheap labour, crime or for adoption. According to official statistics, in the first six months of the year, 119 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. – htcp

Human Rights Watch World Report 2003 - Events of 2002

Human Rights Watch, 2003

[accessed 18 January 2011]

ALBANIA - HUMAN RIGHTS DEVELOPMENTS - Progress notwithstanding, there remain many obstacles to the implementation of the government’s anti-trafficking strategy. Particularly problematic is the government’s reluctance to recognize that Albania is a major country of origin. Prosecution of traffickers is the weakest link in the system: only a small fraction of those arrested by the police were successfully prosecuted and tried. Even when traffickers are found guilty, they received prison sentences that were generally much lower than the new statutory minimum of seven years. Police corruption and the absence of a witness protection system also hinder investigations.

Child Trafficking in EU countries [PDF]

[access date unavailable]

In Italy the organisation Save the Children counted 7823 unaccompanied children between June 2000 and November 2001, almost 4000 of them from Albania, followed by children from Morocco and Romania. In July 2002 the Albanian government reported 6075 unaccompanied children in the neighbouring states (3971 in Italy and 1730 in Greece). According to the police at least 2800 of these children were being exploited as drug couriers, thieves or prostitutes.

Trafficked children in Greece mainly come from Albania, but also from Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia. For some time now they have also been coming from Iraq. - htsc

Italy Human Rights Report

NetCent Communications NCBuy Home : Reference Center : Country : Italy : Human Rights

-- Data Source: US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs

[accessed 18 January 2011]

[6f] TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS - Police and prosecutorial investigations, focusing on traffickers who smuggled young women from Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, and China and forced them into prostitution, resulted in the arrests of almost 200 citizens and foreign nationals. ..... By September, police had arrested 18 people on charges of exploitation and alien smuggling for trafficking at least 67 children from Albania to Italy for sale to childless couples.

Child trafficking in eastern Europe: A trade in human misery

Richard Tyler, World Socialist Web Site, October 25, 2003

[accessed 18 January 2011]

International federation Terre des Hommes estimates that 6,000 children between the ages of 12 and 16 are trafficked from eastern Europe each year, with more than 650 being forced to work as sex slaves in Italy. The price of a girl trafficked to Italy can be between $2,500 and $4,000, with up to $10,000 being paid if she is a virgin. According to the French human rights organisation, Albania is the county most involved in the sex trade, with women and children being lured to go to the West with false promises of marriage, jobs or education. When they get there, there is no husband, no job and no education. Alone in a foreign land without any means of support, violence and coercion ensure they are soon earning money for their new “owners.”

Sex and slavery

John Gibb, The Observer, February 23, 2003

[accessed 18 January 2011]

Police estimate that 10,000 illegal immigrants are working as prostitutes in Britain today. Many are from Eastern Europe, brought here by ruthless Balkan pimps who sell them into a life of enforced vice for as little as £150.

Dying to Leave

Thirteen, New York Public Media, September 25th, 2003

[accessed 18 January 2011]

[accessed 18 February 2018]

VICTIMS - Albania not only supplies women and girls for the international sex trade, but also acts as a major hub through which women from countries further East are taken to Western European markets. Albanian women and girls are either lured by false promises of marriage or offers of legitimate employment or kidnapped to work as prostitutes. 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 2000 Save the Children report. They are brought to work primarily in Italy as street prostitutes, the most dangerous and unpredictable form of prostitution. Some Albanian girls are trafficked to other countries such as Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In Italy, according to a 2001 Save the Children report, Albanian pimps reportedly expect their teen-aged prostitutes to earn between $200-$550 a night. Most of the women never receive a cut of the money they make.

Foreign women and girls, the majority of whom are from Moldova and Romania, are also trafficked through Albania for sexual exploitation. 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.

Albanian children, both boys and girls, are trafficked to Greece and Italy to beg, wash car windows, and deal in drugs. Most of those trafficked come from Albania’s ethnic Roma minority, a traditionally disadvantaged group. Often in exchange for a monthly stipend, very poor families give their children to traffickers, who take them across the border to Greece by foot or by boat to Italy to work as forced laborers. The children’s parents only receive a small fraction of what they earn, which may average almost $1,000 per month, according to the 2001 Save the Children report “Child Trafficking in Albania.”

A smuggler’s paradise - There’s money to be made on the roads of southeastern Europe.

David Binder,, May, 2002

[accessed 18 January 2011]

[accessed 22 April 2020]

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On a broad plain south of Tuzi lies a sprawling, ramshackle refugee camp next to the huge city dump. 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.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 28 January 2005

[accessed 18 January 2011]

[70] The Committee notes the concerns expressed by the State party at the extent of the problem of sexual exploitation of children in Albania. It also welcomes the measures taken by the State party to combat trafficking in children, such as the establishment of an anti-trafficking centre in Vlora. However, the Committee notes with concern that the sale of children is not criminalized in domestic legislation, that children reportedly continue to be trafficked, in particular to Italy and Greece, and considers that additional efforts must be vigorously pursued to combat this persistent phenomenon.

Human Rights Overview by Human Rights Watch – Defending Human Rights Worldwide

[accessed 18 January 2011]


2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 20 April 2018 

[accessed 12 March 2019]

[accessed 24 June 2019]


The law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor, but the government did not always effectively enforce the law. Lack of coordination among ministries and the sporadic nature of implementation of standard operating procedures hampered enforcement. Penalties of eight to 15 years in prison were sufficiently stringent to deter violations, but they were seldom enforced. Law enforcement organizations trained their officers to adopt a victim-centered approach to human trafficking. The government continued to identify trafficking victims but prosecuted and convicted a small number of traffickers. The Office of the National Antitrafficking Coordinator increased government efforts to prevent trafficking through awareness activities.


The law criminalizes exploitation of children for labor or forced services, but the government did not enforce the law effectively. The SILSS monitored for cases of child labor and other labor malpractices, but insufficient human resources limited its activities. There were reports that child laborers worked as street or shop vendors, beggars, farmers, shepherds, drug runners, vehicle washers, textile factory workers, miners, or shoeshine boys. Some of the children begging on the street were second- or third-generation beggars. Research suggested that begging started as early as the age of four or five. While the law prohibits the exploitation of children for begging, police generally did not enforce it, although they made greater efforts to do so during the year.

Human Rights Reports » 2006 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 6, 2007

[accessed 17 March 2020]

WOMEN - Many communities, particularly those from the northeastern part of the country, still followed the traditional code--the kanun--under which, according to some interpretations, women are considered to be, and were treated as, chattel. Some interpretations of the kanun dictate that a woman's duty is to serve her husband and to be subordinate to him in all matters.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 4 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Internal trafficking increased during the year. TdH identified and assisted 126 trafficked children, approximately 53 of whom were internally trafficked. Children were generally trafficked for forced begging or sexual exploitation. Roma and Egyptian communities were particularly vulnerable due to poverty and illiteracy. In a few cases children were bought from families or kidnapped, reportedly for begging or working abroad. 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.

The main forms of recruitment involved marriage under false pretenses or false promises of marriage to lure victims abroad for sexual exploitation. Due to the poor economic situation, men and women from organized criminal groups also lured many women and girls from all over the country by promising them jobs in Italy and Greece. Traffickers typically confiscated victims' documents, physically and sexually abused them, and sometimes forced them to work as prostitutes before they left the country. Both citizens and foreign women trafficked by domestic organized crime networks were abused, tortured, and raped. Traffickers also threatened many of the victims' family members. To a lesser extent, family members of neighbors sold victims—particularly Romani children—to traffickers or traffickers kidnapped children, including from orphanages

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 18 January 2011]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - The trafficking of Albanian children as young as 6 years old to Western Europe for prostitution and other forms of exploitive labor remains a problem.  The Ministry of Public Order estimated that within an 8-year period (1992-2000), some 4,000 children were trafficked from Albania, mostly for domestic work, begging and agriculture.  A 2003 study of trafficking victims who received services at the “Hearth” Psycho-Social Center revealed that 21 percent were minors between the ages of 14 and 18 years.  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 January 2003, Terre des hommes reported that the majority of children trafficked to Greece were sent with their family's knowledge to work for remuneration.  In addition, the report found that 95 percent of children trafficked belong to the Roma ethnic minority or the “Egyptian” community.  There have been reports that children are tricked or abducted from families or orphanages and then sold to prostitution or pedophilia rings.  Children who are returned to the Albanian border from Greece are oftentimes at high risk of being re-trafficked.  According to the 2003 Terre des hommes report, trafficking of Albanian children specifically to Greece appears to be on a decline.  Internal trafficking, on the other hand, is reported to be rising, with increasing numbers of children in the capital of Tirana falling victim to prostitution and other forms of exploitation.

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