'Human Trafficking to Become Tragedy of the Past'
Albanian Daily News
Published October 19, 2017
"Human trafficking is one of the most unspeakable crimes one can think of. It makes me upset that we still have to talk about this. Human trafficking in Albania must become a tragedy of the past," said EU Ambassador to Tirana Romana Vlahutin at the National Conference on Human Trafficking in Albania on Wednesday. The Head of EU Delegation recalled the need for speaking loud and clear about this evil, so that people who make money on suffering of women and children receive the harshest sentences.
EU Ambassador Vlahutin stressed that many EU programmes are put in place to assist the institutional fight against trafficking like the EU Justice Programme and the EU's two Rule of Law projects, PAMECA and EURALIUS. The EU Delegation has also been working on initiatives to improve the prevention of human trafficking.
The Albanian Minister of Interior Fatmir Xhafaj pledged the fight against human trafficking phenomenon in Albania while added deepening communication bridges with partners, during his speech at the Conference. In his addressing speech, Minister Xhafaj underlined intensification of efforts by the State Police as well as the civil society to enable stricter controls in order to stop human trafficking as the fundamental approach in the function of the police force despite difficulties encountered under conditions of a major human trafficking issue.
In addition, Minister Xhafaj expressed deep gratitude to all honest police officers, prosecutors and judges who are dedicated to this important cause in the face of human traffickers' pressure.
The Head of the OSCE Presence in Albania, Ambassador Bernd Borchardt, also attended the Conference. In remarks delivered at this event, Ambassador Bernd Borchardt said that great efforts have been made in Albania so far to address the multi-dimensional aspects of human trafficking, to improve both legislation and policies, while cooperating with the international community in building the skills and capacities of professionals at various levels, but a lot more remains to be done.
He added that the OSCE Presence has been actively engaged in addressing the phenomenon of child labour and children in street situation. "To our regret, we have noticed that there are cases of exploited children, who were reported to the law-enforcement authorities, but were not followed. These children continue to remain in the streets and what the statistics do not tell is the pain and suffering behind every human trafficking victim," said Borchardt. According to him, in the last two years, over 500 cases of street children have been managed country-wide, but very few traffickers and exploiters were sent to jail.
Ambassador Borchardt also noted that the European Anti-Trafficking Day was marked on Wednesday, which coincides with the anniversary of the establishment of the National Coalition of Anti-Trafficking Shelters. "We encourage the Government to continue supporting these shelters with appropriate funds. We also urge the local government to dedicate adequate budgets and human resources to the social protection of the most vulnerable groups to trafficking in order to prevent human trafficking within and outside Albania."