Trafficking of children in Albania: Patterns of recruitment and reintegration



E. Gjermeni; M. P. Van Hook; S. Gjipali; L. Xhillari; F. Lungu;A. Hazizi


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Abbreviated Journal Title

Child Abuse Negl.


Child trafficking; Child abuse; Albania; EASTERN-EUROPE; VIOLENCE; Family Studies; Psychology, Social; Social Work


Problem: Many children in Albania and other countries of Eastern Europe are being trafficked as part of the global business of human trafficking. Objectives: The study sought to identify the patterns of child trafficking involving Albanian children, and especially children's views of the role of family issues and the nature of the trafficking experience. Method: The study included verbally administered questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and use of already existing reports. Study participants included 61 children who had escaped from trafficking, 22 children from similar at-risk groups who had not been trafficked, 15 parents of currently or previously trafficked children, 10 parents from similar groups whose children had not been trafficked, and 8 key informants. Results: Children at greatest risk of trafficking had very limited education and frequently were working on the streets. Their families were poor with many interpersonal problems, including violence. They typically belonged to the Gypsy community. Trusted community members usually recruited the children by promising that the children would work to help the family financially. Once abroad, the children were harshly treated, forced to work long hours, physically abused, and isolated from family members. Families did not receive the promised payment. once returned, children had a difficult time reentering due to family, educational, and economic issues. Conclusions: Contextual issues supporting child trafficking in Albania include poverty, major internal and external migrations, discrimination, and problems in the legal system. Poverty combined with family problems and membership in the marginalized Gypsy group places children at increased risk of trafficking into harsh labor conditions. Practice implications: The study of Albanian children who were trafficked suggests that dealing with trafficking of children requires addressing family problems and complex social issues that perpetuate poverty as well as the legal and social structures that place children at risk and continue to marginalize certain communities. As a result, changes in social policies that protect victims and punish traffickers and the development of programs that facilitate integration and promote the economic and interpersonal welfare of families whose children are at-risk have been established in Albania. (C) 2008 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Journal Title

Child Abuse & Neglect





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