21 September 2022

Economic reintegration of trafficking survivors in Albania

There is no definition of the term ‘economic reintegration’ of trafficking survivors that is accepted either in Albania or internationally. Reports discuss ‘economic reintegration’ with reference to the key activities associated with the process of economic reintegration, such as vocational training; access to internships; access to employment and entrepreneurship opportunities; support while engaged in new livelihood activities; financial support; environment and market assessments; and monitoring and evaluation of economic reintegration.1 Economic reintegration of trafficking survivors can therefore be understood as the process through which they access a range of vocational training and employment services, in order to be economically stable, and no longer at risk of human trafficking. The reintegration of survivors of trafficking in Albania derives from the National Action Plan against Trafficking in Human Beings 2021–2023. There are several normative frameworks in the country that outline the support that should be provided to survivors across the areas of employment, health, housing and economic assistance. Despite the presence of these frameworks, the available literature suggests that there are gaps and challenges in Albania’s economic reintegration support for trafficking survivors. For example, Ramaj (2021) highlighted the challenges for survivors in accessing employment, and argued that employment services in Albania are time-consuming and demotivating for trafficking survivors.2 The present study sets out to contribute to the knowledge base regarding economic reintegration of trafficking survivors in Albania by providing a new perspective on the subject – one that explores the experiences of both survivors and frontline professionals in accessing or providing, respectively, economic reintegration support and other related services.
30 July 2022

ICAT calls on States to harness the opportunities presented by technology to counter trafficking in persons

As the world has continued to transform digitally, so have traffickers who have kept pace by developing sophisticated systems and using technology to commit criminal activities, at every stage of the process, from recruiting, exploiting and controlling victims to transferring the profits of their criminal activities. Rapid technological change presents opportunities for traffickers to adapt their modus operandi, taking advantage of digital platforms to target their victims. As one in every three victims of trafficking detected globally is a child, and one in five girls and one in 13 boys are reportedly sexually exploited or abused before reaching the age of 18, it is evident that children are vulnerable to exploitation by criminals, including traffickers. As a result of school closures and lockdown measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in many parts of the world, children had extended periods of screen time and unsupervised Internet access, with more younger children than ever before being introduced to digital platforms. This has increased the risk of children being exposed to, among others, technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation and abuse. Aware of the risks of detection, traffickers are using encrypted and anonymised online services to perpetrate crime in an environment of secrecy. Technology allows traffickers to operate across borders and in multiple locations simultaneously and can offer a single trafficker opportunities and channels to connect a victim with many potential buyers of exploitative services, gaining access to an increased pool of customers. This ability to transcend multiple jurisdictions makes detecting, investigating and prosecuting technology-facilitated trafficking in persons difficult. In view of the frequent abuse of technology by traffickers and the related vulnerabilities of migrants, as also highlighted in a Statement this World Day by the UN Network on Migration, the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT) calls upon all States, in cooperation with relevant stakeholders including the private sector, to harness the immense potential that technology offers in countering trafficking in persons when used in accordance with international human rights principles. Technology provides, among others, avenues through which communities, including migrants and refugees, can connect and share information on risks along migration routes and in relation to trafficking in persons. While technology presents challenges, it also presents significant opportunities that States can leverage to effectively counter trafficking in persons, especially by improving intelligence collection and analysis, investigations and awareness raising.