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Tuesday, 17 April, 2001, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Albania blamed for human trafficking
kerb crawler/prostitute
Gangs use Albania to lure women into prostitution
By Claire Doole in Geneva

Albania has failed to stem the tide of trafficked women entering the country and criminalises the victims, according to a report.

The report by the International Organisation for Migration is highly critical of the Albanian authorities' response to what it calls an horrific trade.

The findings were based on the testimony of a 125 women repatriated by the IOM.

Albania is a key route in the smuggling of women from Moldova, Romania and Ukraine into Italy and Greece.

But appeals to the Albanian Government to start prosecuting the traffickers have repeatedly been ignored.

Violence

Over the past nine months, more trafficked women have been arrested and prosecuted than the criminal gangs who recruit them with false promises of work as waitresses and au-pairs.

Romanian refugees
Many refugees come from Moldova, Romania and Ukraine

Furthermore, many of the traffickers work in collusion with the underpaid police force, who turn a blind eye to the highly lucrative trade.

The women are reported to be bought and sold several times, with an initial price of about $70 doubling by the time they reach Italy. Most of them have been intimidated, and around a third have been raped and beaten. About one in five had been kidnapped.

A separate report by Save the Children says teenage girls in some rural areas of Albania are so scared of being trafficked that they no longer attend school. It concludes that thousands of Albanian children have been cheated, abducted and forced to work as prostitutes.

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See also:

08 Mar 01 | Europe
EU 'to protect' sex slaves
02 Aug 00 | Europe
Italy's sexual slave trade
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