Sex work is a relatively new phenomenon in Albania, dating from the early nineties. Trafficked are usually girls from rural areas, from families with very difficult financial situation. Trafficking is managed by organized crime syndicates whose interests are spread across Europe. Not all sex workers are trafficked. Sex work is a free choice of those sex workers who engage in the business as a result of the very difficult economical situation in the country. The Penal Code anticipates a punishment varying from a simple fine up to three years of detention for persons practicing commercial sex.
Albanian women trafficked in EU: abused, rejected, abandoned
Albanian Women Protest in Street Against Sexual Violence | Balkan Insight
The trafficking of women for sexual exploitation has been associated with Albanian organized crime for many years. During the s, as the country experienced the upheaval of a post-communist transition, severe economic instability and the effects of the Kosovo war, criminal networks flourished, engaging largely in the trafficking of young women. Every year several hundred Albanian nationals are referred to the UK National Referral Mechanism system each year as potential victims. Many of these cases involve females who state that they were trafficked into various Western European countries before coming to the UK as well as a significant number of young men who are potential victims of forced criminality. To get a sense of the current situation in regard to the trafficking of Albanian nationals and how it fits into wider criminal activities perpetrated by Albanian criminal groups, the Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery is conducting research both in Albania and purported transit hubs in Europe, including Italy, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Our research shows that since its peak in the s, there has been a significant decline in the rate at which women have been trafficked from Albania into other European countries. In Northern Italy, traditionally a hotspot for Albanian organized crime, Albanian women now make up a very small proportion of women visible in street-based prostitution or using support services for trafficked and vulnerable women.
By Lindita Cela. Abused by gangsters, disowned by their families, and let down by the state, Albanian women who were trafficked as sex slaves face an uphill battle to build new lives. Their territory is just a couple of kilometres from the city's central square, the Grand Place, where thousands of tourists flock every day, and from the EU institutions.
Prostitution in Albania is illegal but widespread. Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early s, prostitution in Albania was virtually unknown. Migration from rural areas to cities, and the economic problems following the Soviet collapse, caused some women to turn to prostitution. Street prostitution occurs near the centre of the capital, Tirana , mainly by Roma men and women.