Trafficking of migrant workers from Albania: Issues of labour and sexual exploitation

This paper, prepared by a team of researchers from the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC)and ILO consultants, argues that trafficking for labour exploitation is an emerging issue affecting labour migration from Albania. It also promotes a holistic approach to the eradication of trafficking with the active participation of labour market institutions in national action plans.

The authors of this study pioneered a difficult field of research. Research on trafficking is a sensitive issue because of its criminal and “hidden” nature. In this case moreover the authors were also exploring a relatively new subject, namely trafficking for forced labour exploitation. In recent years, trafficking for sexual exploitation from Eastern to Western Europe has raised the attention of the media and policy makers. Political instability in the Western Balkans has also been a major pull factor for trafficking of mainly women and minors into the growing sex industry of the region. This paper argues, however, that the incidence of trafficking for labour exploitation is an important aspect of labour migration from Albania. It also promotes a holistic approach to the eradication of trafficking with the active participation of labour market institutions in national action plans.
The results were first discussed during a tripartite workshop in Tirana, Albania in 2003. A followup workshop with representatives from government, workers and employers’ organisations as well as NGOs from four different countries of South-eastern Europe took place in January 2004. In the meantime, the government of Albania has taken important steps to curb human trafficking, partly in collaboration with ongoing ILO projects in the region.