The Government of Albania does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore Albania remained on Tier 2. These efforts included investigating more suspected traffickers and adopting new screening procedures to identify trafficking victims in irregular migration flows. The government established four support centers that offered general psycho-social support, legal assistance, and family assistance and signed cooperation agreements with higher education institutions to expand legal assistance for victims. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. The government did not convict any traffickers and identified fewer victims. The government continued to inconsistently implement screening efforts for vulnerable populations – particularly migrants, asylum-seekers, Romani and Balkan-Egyptian communities, and children – and mobile victim identification units (MIU) remained underfunded and understaffed despite identifying most of the victims every year. The government lacked resources for reintegration efforts for victims, anti-trafficking coordinating bodies continued to not meet, and the government-run hotline continued to not function.
The Government of Albania should :
- Vigorously investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes and convict traffickers – including complicit officials – under Articles 110(a) and 128(b) of the criminal code, rather than lesser offenses when possible.
- Seek adequate penalties for convicted traffickers, which should involve significant prison terms, and train judges at all levels of the judiciary to take the severity of trafficking into account when issuing sentences.
- Improve the sustainability of, and law enforcement participation in, MIUs.
- Increase efforts to screen vulnerable populations and train police, labor inspectors, and other front-line officials on proactive identification of victims.
- Institutionalize and provide training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges on investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases, including guidance on issues of consent and coercion in the context of labor and sex trafficking.
- Continue to increase funding and create funding mechanisms that allocate adequate financial and other resources on a consistent and regular basis to the NGO-run shelters for trafficking victims.
- Expand the jurisdiction of labor inspectors to inspect businesses that are not legally registered.
- Increase reintegration services, including access to mental health services for victims and education for child victims.
- Implement victim-centered approaches and victim-witness protection measures during investigations, prosecutions, and court proceedings.
- Train judges on restitution in criminal cases, establish procedures to seize assets from traffickers, and create effective methods to allocate restitution in a timely manner.
- Integrate Romani groups into decision-making processes regarding victim protection.
- Reinstate the government-run anti-trafficking hotline and incorporate hotline numbers in awareness campaigns.
from 2023 Trafficking in Persons Report – U.S. Department of State
2023 Trafficking in Persons Report – United States Department of State