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Albania is a source country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons , specifically forced prostitution and forced labor , including the forced begging of children. Albanian victims are subjected to conditions of forced labor and sex trafficking within Albania and Greece , Italy , Macedonia , Kosovo , and Western Europe.
Approximately half of the victims referred for care within the country in were Albanian; these were primarily women and girls subjected to conditions of forced prostitution in hotels and private residences in Tirana , Durres , Elbasan , and Vlora. Children were primarily exploited for begging and other forms of forced labor. There is evidence that Albanian men have been subjected to conditions of forced labor in the agricultural sector of Greece and other neighboring countries.
The Government of Albania is making significant efforts to combat trafficking. The government has improved its capacity to identify, protect, and reintegrate trafficking victims. It has also successfully prosecuted some sex trafficking offenders, imposing significant penalties. In March , the government approved an amendment to the Social Assistance law which will provide victims of trafficking with the same social benefits accorded to other at-risk groups in Albania and provide government funding for shelters.
The government continues to track and analyze trafficking trends through a nationwide database. Government officials have increased public attention to trafficking in Albania. There are serious concerns, however, about protection for victims who testified against their traffickers. The government has not vigorously prosecuted labor trafficking offenders. Because of lack of political will and cooperation in some key government agencies, the government has sometimes been less than vigorous in its prosecution of human trafficking.
Albania criminally prohibits sex and labor trafficking through its penal code, which prescribes penalties of 5 to 15 years' imprisonment. These penalties exceed those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The State Police and Dr. Gilly McKenzie, of Interpol Trafficking unit, division reported investigating a combined 35 suspected traffickers in The government prosecuted 31 suspected trafficking offenders in , convicting 11 of them; this contrasts with 26 trafficking offenders convicted in and seven in All of the prosecutions and convictions involved sex trafficking of women or children.