UNICEF Albania Raises Alarm Over Continuing Trafficking of Children and Young People from Albania

UNICEF has raised concerns that despite government attempts, human trafficking continues to be a reality for many Albanian citizens, young girls, and children.

In a statement released this week, they have announced an intervention that offers a more proactive and direct engagement with at-risk communities. It will also liaise with duty bearers, professional groups and civil society partners. It aims to increase preventative measures for those at risk of being trafficked and to support those who have survived modern-day slavery.

The initiative will be implemented in Shkodra, Tirana, Diber, and Kukes and will focus on children, parents, young people, front line workers, and key duty bearers.

Roberto de Bernardi, Representative of UNICEF Albania underlines the importance of combining resources and expertise to efficiently tackle human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is not only a crime and most unacceptable form of human rights violation. It leaves an incredibly deep and damaging physical and emotional mark on everyone who is affected by it, directly or indirectly. Unfortunately, children and young women are the ones who suffer the most from this crime”, Dr De Bernardi says.

“We need to act now and act together. We have a strong coalition of national and international partners already in place, we have very motivated State and non-state actors by our side and we have the UK Government’s generous support to make the difference, first and foremost for those people who survived the trafficking horror and those who are at risk of it”, he emphasizes.

Duncan Norman, the British Ambassador to Albania said; “the UK is committed to the eradication of all forms of modern slavery, forced labour, and human trafficking, as unanimously adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in 2015. We are working closely with our international partners and multilateral organisations, including the Albanian government and UNICEF Albania to tackle this global problem.”

“The Modern Slavery programme in Albania will help reintegrate victims back into society and provide support to individuals at risk of falling into the hands of criminals who seek to exploit the vulnerable. Through this programme we will provide training and support to 250 professionals from the law enforcement and justice sectors”, Ambassador says.

“Modern slavery is a repugnant and hidden crime that can happen anywhere, preying on the most vulnerable in society. By working with the Albanian government and UNICEF we will raise awareness and oppose all forms of criminal exploitations, safeguarding human rights and dignity.”