Main Menu
Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                     

Republic of North Macedonia

Macedonia has maintained macroeconomic stability with low inflation, but it has so far lagged the region in attracting foreign investment and creating jobs, despite making extensive fiscal and business sector reforms. Official unemployment remains high at nearly 35%, but may be overstated based on the existence of an extensive gray market, estimated to be more than 20% of GDP, that is not captured by official statistics.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Macedonia

Macedonia is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Macedonian women and children are trafficked internally within the country. Victims trafficked into Macedonia are primarily from Albania and Kosovo. Macedonian victims and victims transiting through Macedonia are trafficked to South Central and Western Europe. Children, primarily ethnic Roma, are trafficked for the purpose of forced begging within the country. Victims were trafficked for the purpose of forced labor in Macedonia’s service sectors.   - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here and possibly a full TIP Report here



CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Macedonia.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify 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 precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. 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.


Revealed: kept in a dungeon ready to be sold as slaves

David Harrison in Skopje, The Telegraph, 27 Nov 2005

[accessed 19 February 2011]

The women, aged 18 to 24, are from across eastern Europe, lured from Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and Bulgaria, with promises of good jobs as waitresses, au pairs and dancers.  Instead, they have been forced into modern-day slavery in western Macedonia, locked in the dirty cellar and only summoned upstairs by their masters to perform sexual services for customers who are usually drunk and often violent.  When they were found, the victims, some of whom had been "broken in" as prostitutes in other countries on the way to Macedonia, barely knew where they were. They had no idea what the future held but knew that it was beyond their control.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Improving the standing and the rights of victims of human trafficking in judicial proceedings in North Macedonia

[Cstegory – Progress Needed ]

Council of Europe News, Skopje, 25 June 2020

[accessed 9 July 2020]

The study concludes that there is a need to bring the domestic legislation in compliance with the European standards by introducing important procedural safeguards for child victims of trafficking, providing access to free legal aid, as well as foreseeing measures for protection from secondary victimisation. Moreover, the research considers that courts should impose effective, proportional and dissuasive sanctions on the perpetrators, and that the draft Law on State Compensation for Victims of Violent Crimes should be adopted without further delay.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: North Macedonia

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

[accessed 15 June 2021]


There were instances in which women and children were subjected to forced labor, such as peddling small items in restaurants and bars, and sexual exploitation. Some Romani children were subject to forced begging, often by relatives (see section 7.c.).


During inspections at some family-run businesses, the State Labor Inspectorate noted minor children assisting in the work, most commonly in family run handicrafts and retail businesses, as well as on farms.

Child labor occurred in agriculture, domestic work, and in bars and nightclubs. Some children in the country engaged in forced begging, cleaning windshields, scavenging, or selling cigarettes or other small items in open markets, on the street, or in bars and restaurants at night. Although the necessary laws were in place, government efforts to eliminate forced begging by children were largely ineffective. Children involved in these activities were primarily Roma, Ashkali, and Balkan-Egyptian and most often worked for their parents or other family members.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 8 July 2020]


Laws do not impose rigid barriers to social mobility, though rampant corruption can effectively hamper individuals from rising to higher income levels.

Human trafficking remains a problem. The government has taken some steps to better identify trafficking victims, notably at government-run transit centers that house migrants and refugees. However, government support to NGOs that aid trafficking victims has decreased.

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 18 April 2019]

[accessed 3 May 2020]

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

[page 621]

Most children involved in child labor in Macedonia engage in street work, including vending small items, cleaning vehicle windshields, and begging. (3; 4; 6; 7) Some children engage in begging to help support their families, while others are forced to beg.

The majority of children involved in street work are of the Roma, Egyptian, and Ashkali ethnicities. (1; 3; 4; 7) Macedonia lacks recent, comprehensive data on the nature and extent of child labor in the country. (7) The majority of victims of child trafficking in Macedonia are girls, between the ages of 14 to 17, who have been trafficked domestically for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor in restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. (1; 11; 14) Girls in eastern and central Macedonia have been identified as being particularly vulnerable to human trafficking. (16) Roma girls, especially, are also trafficked for forced marriages in which they are subject to sexual and labor exploitation. (1; 11; 14; 17; 8; 18)

Afghani, Iraqi, Iranian, Syrian, and other unaccompanied children transiting through the country, either legally or illegally, are vulnerable to trafficking for labor and commercial sexual exploitation. (13; 8) During the reporting period, 41 migrant children were identified as potential victims of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. (8).

Macedonian suspected of involvement in human trafficking arrested in Kosovo

[access date unavailable]

He is suspected of having proposed a false marriage offer to a girl from Vucitrn only to lure her in a motel located in the vicinity of Tetovo and force her into prostitution.

Life in prison for child sexual abuse

makfaxonline Internet Daily Newspaper, Skopje, May 28, 2007

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

[accessed 8 September 2011]

The Criminal Code will be also supplemented with "Trafficking with minors". A person who solicitates, transports, buys, sells or accepts an underage person for sexual exploitation, pornography, forced labor, etc, will be punished with at least 8-year prison sentence.

The buildings and premises used for committing human trafficking or trafficking with minors, including hotels, motels, bars, apartments, are also subject to confiscation.

Judiciary - weak link in combating human trafficking

[access date unavailable]

Judiciary is one of the weakest links in the chain in Macedonian institutions as to the fight against illegal migration and trafficking in human beings.

Combat Against Human Trafficking, Key Issue For Macedonia

Vecer News, February 23, 2007

[accessed 21 March 2011]

The Macedonian Interior Ministry prepared 53 charges against 111 perpetrators in the field of human trafficking, forced prostitution and emigrants trafficking.

Balkans Urged To Curb Trafficking

Imogen Foulkes, BBC News, Geneva, 31 March 2005

[accessed 19 February 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.

Macedonia Wins High Ratings in US Report on Fight Against Human Trafficking

Reality Macedonia, June 16, 2004

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

[accessed 8 September 2011]

The US Secretary of State Colin Powell and the Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, John Miller, presented Monday the fourth annual report on trafficking in human beings.  Macedonia is the only country in the Balkan region, placed in the first tier of 25 mainly Western European countries which fully comply with the US standards on the fight against human trafficking.

Psychosocial Support to Groups of Victims of Human Trafficking in Transit Situations

Edited by Guglielmo Schinina -- Psychosocial Notebook, Vol. 4, February 2004,  International Organization for Migration IOM, ISSN 1680-1970

[accessed 30 January 2016]

THE TRANSIT CENTER FOR FOREIGNER VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING - . The Transit Center for Foreign Victims of Trafficking in the Republic of Macedonia was opened in April 2001. In the years since then, it has hosted more than 700 foreign victims of trafficking: women only, including female minors. The minimum stay in the T.C. is three weeks, which is the time needed for issuing travel documents, making travel arrangements and designing proper reintegration programs. Victims of trafficking often stay there longer, because their presence in the country is deemed necessary for investigative and judicial purposes, for medical reasons, or because the conditions do not exist for a timely, safe return trip home.

A doctor is present every day at the T.C. and two nurses are there during the night for emergencies. Pregnancy tests, gynecological examinations, TB tests and general check-ups are offered to the women on a strictly voluntary basis. Whenever a woman is in need of specialized care, a qualified professional follows her case. Regrettably, some women arrive at the T.C. with significant physical trauma, including broken legs and gunshot wounds and need surgical attention, rehabilitation and hospitalization. These individual cases are transferred to local health institutions.

Report on Situation with Children Rights in Macedonia

OneWorld Platform for Southeast Europe ONEWORLDSEE, 11/10/2004

[accessed 19 February 2011]

Macedonian NGOs say that the children in Macedonia are unprotected from all forms of violations of their rights: physical, psychological and sexual violence, kidnapping, forced labour and prostitution. Children are abused by their parents, neighbours, teachers...

“They can be victims of almost anything this side of the classical trafficking in children, which is rare, but also very possible, having in mind the current situation with the economy in the country. Physical violence remains the greatest problem, for many parents believe that the children are their property”, says Gordana Zmijanac from the First Children Embassy “Medjasi”.

Moldova: Young Women From Rural Areas Vulnerable To Human Trafficking

Eugen Tomiuc, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty RFE/RL, October 06, 2004

[accessed 19 February 2011]

Victims are usually young girls from poor families who graduate from middle school without few, if any, prospects for the future.  But older women can also fall prey to traffickers.

Twenty-nine-year-old Mariana is from a village in northern Moldova and spent more than four years in Macedonia after being sold to Serbian traffickers.  She thought she was being led into Italy, but instead, this is what she says happened.

MARIANA: When we arrived in Macedonia, we were sent to a policeman's house. The policeman bought girls and then sold them to nightclubs. We spent one month and a half at his place. I did not know where I was and asked him when we were going to Italy. He said, "Italy is here." Then he sold me to a club.

Prostitution Rampage Through Macedonia: Teenagers Bought, Raped, Sold

Reality Macedonia, June 24, 2003

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

[accessed 8 September 2011]

Bitola police arrested a gang of seven who used to buy and sell juveniles, forcing them to offer sex services for money.

The police discovered the group after one of the abused girls reported that she's been a victim of human trafficking. According the preliminary reports, the girl R.A. was forced twice into whoring with Greek citizens. In March this year, the suspects M.A. and A.N. sold the girl to Sh.K. from Kichevo for 150 Euros. He and his unwed wife forced the girl to serve them in their bar. The bosses sold the girl to the Ohrid resident D.B. for 100 Euros June 6, 2003. He also forced the girl into prostitution in his bar "Persa."

The same day, the accused Sh.K. bought the 14-year old girl A.M. (native of Prilep) from some man from Bitola, paying 50 Euros. Sh.K. forced the girl to prostitute herself. Several days afterward, D.B. bought the girl A.N., also to force her to work as a servant and prostitute. Since she refused the orders of her owners, she endured repeated raping between June 14 and June 17, 2003. - htcp

Row Over Escaped Trafficker

Sase Dimovski - Balkans: Regional Reporting & Sustainable Training, BCR Issue 440, 6 Sep 2005

[accessed 19 February 2011]

[accessed 5 February 2018]

A notorious human trafficker’s escape from jail has highlighted flaws in the Macedonian judiciary which could hamper the authorities’ efforts to stamp out organised crime.  Dilaver “Leku” Bojku escaped from the minimum-security Struga prison, where he was serving a six-month sentence for forcing a woman into prostitution, on June 20.

Struga prison director Dragan Petreski and senior prisons official Ljupco Sapcevski were both dismissed five days later and are now facing criminal charges over the incident, as is a Macedonian security guard present when Bojku made his dash for freedom.  But Macedonian prime minister Branko Crvenkovski has placed the blame for Bojku’s escape firmly on the republic’s judicial system, which is perceived to be inefficient and in need of a radical overhaul.

Ohrid Police Saves Nine Victims of Human Trafficking

Irina Gelevska, Reality Macedonia, October 15, 2002

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

[accessed 8 September 2011]

Two days ago, the local police in Ohrid discovered a young Romanian girl (16), who was forced into prostitution in the night club "Playboy."  The girl, a victim of human trafficking, informed the police that 8 Ukrainian girls work as sex slaves in the same night club.

535 Registered Victims of Human Trafficking in Macedonia

Irina Gelevska, Reality Macedonia, Skopje, October 11, 2002

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

[accessed 8 September 2011]

Five hundred thirty five women have been sold and forced to prostitution in Macedonia by October 10, 2002," said the IOM representative in Skopje, Vladimir Danailov.  These 535 women are citizens of Romania, Bulgaria, Moldavia, Ukraine, Russia and Yugoslavia (Kosovo). All of them were released from slavery by the Macedonian police and taken to the Shelter of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Skopje. From here, the victims, if they want, can be sent back to their countries of origin.

Girl, 15, Sold to Work as Slave In the Brothels of London

Dominic Kennedy, Reality Macedonia, July 06, 2002

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

[accessed 8 September 2011]

A sex slave aged 15 can be bought for as little as £1,300 it emerged, after a Romanian girl who had been prostituted across Europe escaped her Albanian captors while working in a British sauna.  Her “owner” had pocketed up to £500 a day as he made her work in brothels for up to 20 hours at a time, seven days a week, and beat her if she resisted.

Natasha, age 15, came to the notice of traffickers and soon she was forced to become a “dancing girl” in a nightclub in the south of Macedonia, where, for six months, her duties included stripping and having sex with clients.  She escaped this club when she was purchased, without her knowledge, by Jorgi, an Albanian pimp, for 4,000 German marks (£1,300).

He forced her to telephone saunas and massage parlours, finding the numbers from the back pages of the magazine What’s On In London. He drove her to and from work, pocketing the cash that she was paid.  “I was working morning, afternoon and evening. Sometimes I would get home at 7am and would have to start work again at 11am,” Natasha said.  “I hated all the men I was working for. But if you didn’t do what they were saying they would always get angry and hit you and swear at you.” After Jorgi hit her she would cover the bruising with make-up and go to work again. - htcp

Macedonia on the Route of Child Sex Slavery

Irina Gelevska, Reality Macedonia, Skopje, July 26, 2002

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

[accessed 8 September 2011]

Between August 2001 and November 2001, Macedonian Police discovered 328 [trafficked] women in the raids in the night bars in the West and Northwest of the country. 12% of them are young girls aged 14 to 16. A Skopje shelter, run by IOM with the assistance from the police, accepted 6 girls under age of 18 during this year.

UNICEF's child protection officer Carry Nill says that the problem of child sex slavery in Macedonia worsened during the last two years.

Macedonia is known as a country on the route of trafficking women for prostitution [in Western Europe], and also as destination country for this kind of organized crime. Since the last year's security crisis in the country, Macedonia becomes a lair for children trafficking as well.

Trapped in Macedonia

Pravda.Ru, 11.05.2002

[accessed 19 February 2011]

MSNBC reports that on buses and cars and crossing borders on foot Natasha followed a path to sex slavery trodden by thousands of other hapless women, passing, under the watchful eyes of a gang of Balkans thugs, through Romania, Serbia and Kosovo before ending up in Macedonia. In Veleshta, a key transit town in the sex trade where women are beaten and raped into submission, Natasha was bought by Meti, an ethnic Albanian pimp wanted by the Macedonian police on smuggling and prostitution charges.

Natasha says that she was forced to sleep with more than thousand men during her nine months in Veleshta. Besides the Albanians and Macedonians, there were men from France, Germany and the United States, she said, referring to soldiers from the NATO peacekeeping mission in Macedonia and nearby Kosovo.  They were as bad as the rest, Natasha said. They did anything they wanted to us. And besides, if Meti heard me asking them for help, he would have killed me.

MSNBC: Albanian Nationalists Profit From Sex Slavery and Drugs in Macedonia

Reality Macedonia, May 13, 2002

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

[accessed 8 September 2011]

Tanja said that their bosses paid a lot of money for them so that girls were supposed to repay the debt. However, the repayment didn’t end in a month, but prolonged for a year. Another Ukrainian woman Oxana says that she tried to run away couple of times, but she was violently prevented from doing so. After one unsuccessful attempt, her owners beat her up for a week. Her face was made blue and she had several broken ribs.


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 10 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – While the country remained primarily a transit and destination point for trafficking, officials and others acknowledged that it was a point of origin for a small number of trafficking victims. Women from the country were trafficked throughout the former Yugoslavia. Interior ministry officials reported a downward trend in human trafficking during the year. However, NGOs and the international community reported that there were more cases of internal trafficking. Reliable statistics were not available, but specialists working in the field for the OSCE and other agencies estimated that between 200 and 400 women were trafficked to or through the country during the year, primarily for sexual exploitation. Moldova, Romania, Albania, and Bulgaria were the primary sources of trafficking victims, and victims trafficked through the country were most often en route to Serbia and Montenegro (including Kosovo), Albania, and western Europe.

There were four reported cases of trafficking involving girls during the year. There were reports that female minors were recruited by some massage parlor owners to perform sexual services for clients. In at least one case, authorities shut down a massage parlor operating in this way.

Trafficked women were forced to work in prostitution, often under the guise of dancers, hostesses, or waitresses in local clubs. Police raids and testimony by victims confirmed that trafficking victims were subjected to threats, violence, physical and psychological abuse, and seizure of documents to ensure compliance.

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 19 February 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 - Children are trafficked to Macedonia from Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, and Ukraine.  Macedonia is also a transit country for trafficking to Greece, Serbia and Montenegro, Albania, and Western Europe.

CURRENT GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND PROGRAMS TO ELIMINATE THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR - The government’s National Commission for Prevention and Suppression of Trafficking in Persons has established a Secretariat, which includes police officials, NGOs, the OSCE, and the IOM.  A Trafficking of Children sub-group has been formed within the Secretariat.  The government cooperates with IOM to provide a shelter for victims of trafficking.

The government has signed the Agreement on Co-operation to Prevent and Combat Trans-border Crime in an effort to prevent trafficking and develop an effective transnational database mechanism.  The countries of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, including Macedonia, operate a Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings, which is responsible for streamlining and accelerating efforts to combat human trafficking in the region.  The Macedonian government has a national/governmental coordinator to coordinate anti-trafficking measures within the country and operates multidisciplinary national working groups to work on the issue.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery - Macedonia",, [accessed <date>]