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We provide the deep context to make informed decisions. Watch our reporter Eszter Zalan explain the reasons in this 30 seconds video. The US accuses Albanian authorities of failing to tackle sex-trafficking Photo: Voluptuous, with long curly hair and big black eyes, girla old Eva speaks without embarrassment gitls the clients she goes with, how much she hirls, sexual positions and even the fights among the women who Albanian girls xxx the street. The man she had fallen for told her she gorls to make Allbanian "sacrifice for the sake of our love" Albanian girls xxx to have sex with other men to earn Albanian girls xxx money girle them as a couple. Without realising, at Albxnian, what was happening, Eva had become a victim of sex trafficking - or, as it is Albaian formally known, Albanian girls xxx in women for sexual exploitation.

There may be as many assex-trafficking victims in Europe and giels a third come from the Balkans, according to a UN report from Thousands of women and girls have been trafficked from Albania alone girrls western Europe as sex slaves in the last two decades. Well-organised criminal gangs Albanian girls xxx the trafficking, sometimes with the complicity cxx the victims' own family members, and launder profits by buying property back Albanian girls xxx Albania, police and Albaniam say. Efforts to crack down on the gangs face serious obstacles.

Complex international investigations are required and it is widely accepted that criminals can buy influence in the justice system of Albania, hirls of Europe's poorest countries. Official complicity in trafficking crimes remains a significant concern," says the section on Albania in the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report. It Albanian girls xxx notes that when the report was published, in July, "a sitting member of [the Albanian] parliament had prior convictions for Albqnian crimes". Xxxx, many victims who escape from the gangs end up back in the sex trade after being shunned by their own xzx and communities and after receiving only modest help gitls the Albanian state to build a new life.

Abused Albanian girls xxx their families A previously unpublished Albanian police report fromobtained by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, Xxxx, says at least 5, women and girls were trafficked to be exploited as sex workers between and Since the period covered by the report, around gir,s, more Albanian girls xxx victims have been identified, according to Albanoan crime reports issued by the Albanian Albanian girls xxx prosecutor. Sobering as they are, the statistics Albanian girls xxx only Albnaian small fraction of a bigger story.

The true number of xx is likely to be much higher, as the official figures only include Albaniaj known to authorities. The numbers, in any case, hardly convey what each Albaniaj woman has suffered. Albania with trafficked women reveal that, in some cases, they were subjected to violence and sexual abuse by girlw of their own families. She adds, between sobs, that her father raped xzx so often that she does Albanoan remember how many times he did it. Albanian girls xxx mother took her Albznian life in Albanian girls xxx Police Allbanian she Albannian suicide after Albanian girls xxx her husband was sexually abusing their daughter.

Maria, from the Malesia e Xx region in northern Albania, was only 16 when her Albanian girls xxx married her to an older man. Her new husband forced her into prostitution in Greece. After being raped by Albanian girls xxx brother at Albannian age of 13, she ran away Albanin was forced to work as a prostitute, first in Tirana and later in Kosovo. I've Albanian girls xxx stigmatised since I was a child and as far Albaniian everyone's concerned I'll always be a whore. Tougher sentences for sxx trafficking of between 10 and 15 years in jail were introduced in Albania in but the number of zxx has been small.

Albanian girls xxx convicted nine people of trafficking in and three people the previous year, according to the US State Department. Some convicted traffickers manage to avoid jail by pursuing appeals. Hysni Sokolaj, a year old man from the town of Tropoje, was found guilty in absentia in of human trafficking and prostitution. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison. His conviction was upheld by a higher court, but later overturned by the Supreme Court. Sokolaj was accused of deceiving an year old woman with false promises of love and marriage, and then of trafficking her and forcing her into prostitution in Belgium and in the UK, according to a copy of his case file obtained by BIRN.

Inafter he was deported from Britain as an illegal alien, the woman returned to Albania, found refuge at the centre for trafficking victims in Vlora and filed charges against him. Following protests from victims' support groups, the case was transferred to the Serious Crimes Prosecutor's Office in Tirana. The office brought charges against Sokolaj, who was believed to have returned to Britain, and an international warrant was issued for his arrest. InBritish police declared Sokolaj one of the most wanted foreign nationals in the country. But in December the same year, the Supreme Court overturned his conviction, saying the lower courts had deliberately misinterpreted the law.

Sokolaj's lawyer, Ferit Muca, says his client, who does not live in Albania any more, has always maintained he is not guilty. The charges against him were filed on the basis of manipulations by prosecutors. The girl was unstable. Two courts found them guilty of being part of a criminal gang which trafficked at least six young women into sexual slavery. The Supreme Court is considering an appeal against their conviction. One woman testified that she was only 16 years old when Shyqeri Stafuga trafficked her to Switzerland and Germany and forced her to have sex with 10 men every day. He would threaten to kill my family if I didn't make 1, [Swiss] francs every night," she said.

In NovemberBledar and Shyqeri Stafuga were convicted of human trafficking and trafficking of minors by the Court of Serious Crimes in Tirana and sentenced to 12 and a half and 12 years in prison, respectively. Anila Trimi, an anti-trafficking expert with the Albanian state police, tells BIRN the brothers were part of a larger, well-structured criminal organisation and investigations continue into other possible members of the group. Dolores Musabelliu, a prosecutor in the Serious Crimes Prosecutor's Office, says human trafficking and prostitution cases are difficult to prove in court. However, victims often decide not to testify or withdraw testimony because they cannot face a drawn-out court case and fear vengeance from the traffickers.

Asset unfreeze The Albanian government's national anti-trafficking strategy, approved in Novembernamed Belgium as one of the main destinations in Western Europe for Albanian women trafficked for prostitution. In Brussels, Didier Dochain, the deputy head of the federal police's anti-trafficking unit, told BIRN the Belgian authorities are focusing increasingly on trying to seize the assets of foreign traffickers. But, he added, traffickers generally send their profits back to their home countries so Belgian police needed cooperation from authorities there. Often this is because financial transactions were not recorded as thoroughly as they are in Belgium, he explains, but he cannot rule out that corruption also plays a role.

Back in Tirana, Dolores Musabelliu at the prosecutor's office says Albanian authorities face their own problems getting information from foreign countries for complex investigations. While some officials and MPs work to counter sex trafficking, two Albanian politicians have been accused of active involvement in it. Belgian prosecutors have accused Mark Frroku, a lawmaker from the Christian Democratic Party, of murdering another Albanian in Brussels in The victim was allegedly blackmailing a woman who was exploited by a prostitution ring run by a brother of Frroku. An Albanian court is considering a Belgian request for Frroku's extradition. Frroku has denied any wrongdoing and described the charges against him as politically motivated.

Arben Ndoka, who served as a member of parliament from the ruling Socialist Party, has admitted he was convicted by an Italian court in the s for running prostitutes and kidnapping. Ndoka made the admission last year after his criminal record was exposed by the opposition. But he maintained that he was innocent of the charges and stayed on in parliament, before eventually resigning in September Shunned by society Even though they are victims, many women who have been trafficked and forced into prostitution are disowned by their own families and stigmatised by society. The mother of the woman who was allegedly being blackmailed in the Frroku case lives in the small town of Puka in mountainous northern Albania.

Her home is a ground floor flat in an old apartment block. She is 63 years old, but looks much older, with dark rings around her eyes. For her, any connection with the sex trade is a source of shame. As far as she is concerned, she no longer has a daughter. Their stories are still the talk of a town of just 3, inhabitants. Zajmira Laci, a doctor and women's rights activist in Puka Photo: Lindita Cela Zajmira Laci, a local doctor and women's rights activist, says that, just like the woman in the Frroku case, many trafficking victims have never returned to Puka.

In the Belgian city of Antwerp, Patsy Sorensen, the director of Payoke, a charity that helps trafficking victims, can point to dozens of examples of women reintegrating into Belgian society. The women can request a work permit and can attend education and training courses free of charge, Sorensen explains. Women she knows have found work as cleaners and shop assistants. Others have started nail studios, Sorensen says. Others yet, including some Albanian women, have gone to university. However, Sorensen admits, there are cases where women have ended up being trafficked again. Patsy Sorensen, director of the Payoke anti-trafficking organisation in Antwerp Photo: Lindita Cela In Albania, after women are identified as trafficking victims, they are generally referred to the state-run shelter or one of three rehabilitation centres.

The shelter in the village of Linze, near Tirana, houses victims awaiting the results of preliminary investigations. The centres in Tirana, Elbasan and Vlora are run by non-profit organisations and offer courses in skills such as cookery and hairdressing with the aim of helping women find employment. But even after going through rehabilitation programmes, trafficking victims struggle to find work. Maria, the woman who was forced into prostitution in Greece, is following that path. She lives in a city far from her birthplace with her year-old son, whom she says is the only source of joy in her life. When she goes to a government office to claim a small payment for trafficking victims, officials ask for sex, Maria says.

Of all the cases she has handled, about women have ended up back in prostitution. At the Place de l'Yser in Brussels, Eva is one of those women who reached that conclusion. She first lived in Belgium for five years with her fiance-cum-pimp, until he disappeared with all their money. Eva returned to Albania for a while but decided to go back to Belgium and work again in the sex trade. This allows her to send money back to her family, who think she is a care worker for an elderly couple. And here I can earn much more.




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The centres in Tirana, Elbasan and Vlora are run by non-profit organisations and offer courses in skills such as cookery and hairdressing with the aim of helping women find employment.

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Police believe she committed suicide after discovering her husband was sexually abusing their daughter. However, Sorensen admits, there are cases where women have ended up being trafficked again. Their stories are still the talk of a town of just 3, inhabitants. Hysni Sokolaj, a year old man from the town of Tropoje, was found guilty in absentia in of human trafficking and prostitution. Watch our reporter Eszter Zalan explain the reasons in this 30 seconds video.