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REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA

Council of Ministers

DECISION

No. 171, dated 11 February 2005

ON

THE APPROVAL OF THE NATIONAL STRATEGY AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN CHILDREN AND THE PROTECTION OF CHILD VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING, AND

AN ANNEX TO DECISION NO. 8, DATED 5 JANUARY 2002 OF THE COUNCIL OF

MINISTERS, “ON THE CREATION OF THE STATE COMMITTEE FOR THE FIGHT

AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS”

Pursuant to Article 100 of the Constitution, on the proposal of the Minister of State for Coordination, the Council of Ministers

DECIDED TO:

1. Approve the National Strategy for the Fight against Trafficking in Children and the Protection of Child Victims of Trafficking.

2. Assign the State Committee for the Fight against Trafficking in Human Beings with the pursuance, monitoring and implementation of tasks planned in this Strategy.

3. Add to point 1, Decision no.8, date 5 January 2002 of the Council of Ministers:

“The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Decentralization – Member”.

This decision enters into force after its publication in the “Official Gazette”.

PRIME MINISTER

FATOS NANO

MINISTER OF STATE FOR COORDINATION

MARKO BELLO

Prot. No. 481/3

Date 30 March 2005

To the President’s OfficeTo the President’s Office

To the Ministries

To the Center for Official Publications

SECRETARY GENERAL

KSENOFON KRISAFI

REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA

COUNCIL OF MINISTERS

OFFICE OF THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR COORDINATION

NATIONAL STRATEGY

FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST CHILD TRAFFICKING AND

THE PROTECTION OF CHILD VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING

I. Introduction:

Over the last decade, Albania has experienced a difficult and complex transition process, which has been associated with previously inexperienced levels of unemployment and poverty, uncontrolled demographic movements within the country and overseas, and new social phenomena resulting from these changes.

Initially, large-scale emigration to western European countries was stimulated by the collapse of the previous political system and the desire to exploit the opening up of the country’s borders to seek a better life abroad. Until the beginning of 1992, this resulted in mass flows of Albanian migrants to Western Europe, and especially to Greece and Italy, as Albania’s closest European neighbours.

After 1992, when this mass emigration stopped, criminal and corrupt elements began to establish illegal trafficking routes, which provided them with great profit. It was at this stage that the criminal activity of trafficking in human beings, including the trafficking of women and children for exploitation purposes, began to emerge as a new and highly destructive phenomenon in Albanian society, providing even more lucrative business for the traffickers.

In addition, prolonged conflict in the Balkans, internal instability, the emergence of national and international organized crime and smuggling networks, and the uncontrolled movements of people across international borders, exacerbated the domestic trafficking phenomenon by bringing into the country large numbers of illegal migrants, including women and children from Eastern European and more distant countries, either for purposes of exploitation in Albania, or for transit towards the rest of Europe.

II. Trafficking of children for the purposes of exploitation and profit:

Against this general background, the trafficking of Albanian children, mainly to neighbouring European countries, has emerged as one of the most serious and socially damaging of these new phenomena, being based on the vulnerability of children, and having damaging physical and psychological consequences for the life and future prospects of child victims, as well as for future generations.

In Albania, poverty and transition have also led to a weakening of traditionally strong family ties, and solidarity between blood relatives. This has had a strong negative impact on certain sectors of Albanian society, and particularly on Albanian children, as the most vulnerable family element.

In some cases, the abandonment of school in rural areas, and the large-scale demographic movements of families, particularly from the north-east of Albania, brought many children to work on the streets of large towns, where they became victim to recruitment into illicit activities and organized trafficking. In other cases, particularly in marginalized communities, families, being unaware of the phenomenon of trafficking of children and its consequences, have actively encouraged the sending abroad of their children in the belief that this would secure them a better future, and have often colluded with so-called ‘protectors’.

The most common sources for the recruitment of children for the purposes of trafficking are:

- Divorced families without family care

- Extended families, in financial need

- Families from rural areas, hoping for help from their children

- Orphaned children without care

- Families in which parents have left for employment abroad

- Children who have abandoned school and are employed as beggars or in other illegal activities in Albania

- Children who have no access to schools

- Children who have not been registered at birth

- Families in which at least one other child/member has been trafficked before

- Families with mentally challenged children/children of mentally challenged parents

- Children whose marriages have been arranged at a very young age

The routes and methods used for child trafficking are similar to those for other forms of human trafficking, though child traffickers often use false documents to claim they are the children’s guardians or parents. The destination countries, to which children are trafficked, are mainly in neighbouring countries, such as Italy and Greece, though trafficking networks and organized crime groups operate to other countries of Europe as well.

According to one international NGO, up to 4000 unaccompanied Albanian migrant minors may have gone abroad over the last decade, mainly to neighbouring European countries. Other NGOs put the number of unaccompanied minors who have left Albania illegally and have been exploited for begging, physical work, and other illegal purposes as high as 6000. Considering the clandestine nature of the phenomenon, and lack of feedback from some destination countries, these figures are difficult to confirm, though the problem would be as serious and disturbing even if the figures were lower.

III. National Strategy to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings: 2001- 4:

In December 2001, the Albanian Government, considering the fight against human trafficking in all its forms to be one of its highest domestic and international priorities, approved the National Strategy to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings: 2001-4, drafted by government structures in collaboration with local NGOs and international organizations working in the area of human trafficking.

The National Strategy includes overall objectives and specific medium to long term programs in the areas of prevention and protection, prosecution and conviction of traffickers (and associated legislative reforms), as well as public awareness campaigns and social and institutional actions for the sheltering and long term reintegration of the victims of trafficking.

Although Child Trafficking was not a main focus of the 2001 National Strategy, the Strategy and proposed actions recognized for the first time the particular human, social, legal and institutional complexities involved in combating child trafficking and the reintegrating of child victims, as well as the importance of social and economic development, poverty reduction and the provision of equal opportunities to all Albanian citizens for the eradication of the phenomenon.

The Strategy also recognized that the fight against human trafficking would require the commitment not only of state institutions, but also of international organizations and NGOs, with unique experience and capacities in this area. One particular achievement of the Strategy has been the institutionalisation of a high level of cooperation with NGOs and international organizations operating in Albania, as well as improved collaboration and mutual initiatives with regional government and non-government partners.

As a result of the enhanced efforts of Albanian law enforcement and the coordinated implementation by all governmental and non governmental institutions involved in the prosecution, protection and prevention measures in the National Strategy, Albania has made significant progress in addressing the phenomenon of trafficking in general since 2001, not only reducing the numbers of domestic victims, but also, since 2002, largely ending Albania’s former status as a major country of destination or transit (as opposed to origin).

Nonetheless, domestic and international assessments of Albania’s performance have identified weaknesses and gaps in implementation, which continue to impact negatively on the efforts made by the Government to date. These weaknesses include, amongst other things, the continuing phenomenon of child trafficking and illegal child migration to neighbouring countries, particularly Greece and Italy, and the lack of adequate prevention and protection structures and capacities to address the problem in a concerted and effective way.

As a result, in October 2003, the Albanian Government approved a short-term Anti-Trafficking Action Plan for 2003-4, within the existing National Strategy, one of the requirements of which was the development of a dedicated Strategy for the Fight against Child Trafficking and the Protection of Child Victims of Trafficking. The 2003-4 Action Plan also mandated an inter-ministerial working group, within the governmental structures for combating trafficking in human beings, to work with national NGOs and international organizations, to draw up and monitor the implementation of measures to address child trafficking, in all its aspects.

IV. Draft National Strategy and Action Plan for the Fight against Child Trafficking and the Protection of Child Victims of Trafficking: 2005-7:

This new Strategy does not duplicate the National Strategy to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, which remains in force, but considers the issue of trafficking in children in a more comprehensive way, within the context of the National Strategy, and seeks to intensify, for this purpose, coordination and cooperation between government institutions and bodies, international and domestic organizations and NGOs.

This Strategy was drafted by a working group of experts from the Office of the Minister of State for Coordination, Ministry of Public Order, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and the General Prosecutor’s Office. Officials from other Ministries were involved on an ‘ad hoc’ basis. The working group was supported by UNICEF and assisted by the ‘Together against

Children Trafficking’ Coalition (‘BKTF’), a recently-formed network of NGOs, which work together against child trafficking, and by other international organizations, including IOM, ILO, ICMC, and OSCE. The initiative has also benefited from the support and advice of the Task Force on Human Trafficking of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe (SPTF).

In preparing this Strategy, the working group also took particularly into account the 2003 UNICEF Guidelines for the Protection of Child Victims of Trafficking in SE Europe, relevant domestic and international legislation and instruments, as well as national, international and NGO analyses and reports on the phenomenon in Albania.

V. Objectives of the Child Trafficking Strategy and Action Plan:

The Child Trafficking Strategy aims at accelerating current initiatives to reduce and eradicate child trafficking in Albania by strengthening and coordinating the activities of all involved government institutions, international partners and domestic and international NGO-s through the fulfilment of the objectives, actions and deadlines in the attached Action Plan over a 2-year period (2005-2007)

Priority is given in the action plan and strategy to identifying and prosecuting traffickers and their conspirators through enhanced law enforcement efforts within the community and at state borders, as well as to measures to assist children who are at risk of being trafficked or who have been trafficked, in their medical, psychological, social and economic rehabilitation.

In this regard, the new Strategy addresses not only the provision of adequate temporary shelter and the capacity building needs of social care workers and institutions, but also longer term rehabilitation and integration issues, such as family support and the development of fostering and adoption services, based on the right of every child to be raised in a family.

Measures are also envisaged to address the abandonment of education, illegal child labour, poverty reduction, and vocational training needs, as alternatives to illegal migration, trafficking or re-trafficking.

Priority is given to public awareness measures, both by government and by specialized domestic and international organizations, targeting rural and marginalized communities, and the most vulnerable sectors of urban society.

The Strategy also envisages the creation of a dedicated national child protection structure operating at prefecture as well as central level to coordinate and supervise the prevention, protection and rehabilitation activities of education, health and social services, law enforcement, and local government officials. Encouragement will also be given for the formation of local level partnerships of government and non-government actors to work with representatives of the central structure in implementing the strategies contained in the Action Plan.

The Strategy is based on the conviction of the Government of Albania that child trafficking, like all other forms of human trafficking, is a crime and an offence against the dignity and human rights of its citizens, which it has the main responsibility for combating and eradicating.

At the same time it recognizes that, within this overall framework of government ‘ownership’ and responsibility, as indicated in the assignment of responsibilities within the draft Child Trafficking Action Plan, partnership and cooperation with the non government sector and international partners and donors is both necessary and beneficial, given its own lack of financial and human resources, as well expertise in certain areas.

The Government nonetheless attaches considerable importance to domestic capacity building and sustainability in all the actions and programs envisaged in this medium term Strategy.

VI.  Structure of Child Trafficking Action Plan:

In line with the above, the Action Plan is drafted according to the following five-point structure, agreed with domestic and international partners:

- Prevention of Child Trafficking (including law enforcement and border control aspects, public awareness raising, education and training at local as well as national level, with particular reference to the most vulnerable communities);

- Protection and Reintegration of Child Trafficking Victims (including legal framework for referral mechanisms, physical and moral protection, temporary shelter, adoption, fostering and guardianship issues, family support, and social, educational, professional and economic aspects of reintegration);

- Prosecution of Child Traffickers (including legal framework, law enforcement, and judicial procedures);

- Assisted Voluntary Return of Victims (based on best practices for the identification, protection and repatriation of trafficked children to their country of origin);

- Coordination of Anti-Child Trafficking Actors (at national and international, governmental and non-governmental, central and local levels).

VII.  General principles on which Child Trafficking Strategy and Action Plan are based:

- Rights of the child

All actions undertaken in relation to child victims shall be guided by and based on the principles of protection and respect for human rights as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).

Child victims are entitled to special protection measures, both as victims and as children, in compliance with their special rights and needs.

Involvement of a child victim in criminal activities should not undermine their status as both a child and a victim.

- Best interest of the child

In all actions considering child victims, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration.

- Right to Non-Discrimination

Child victims are entitled to the same protection and rights, non-national as well as national or resident children. They must be considered as children first and foremost. All considerations of their status, nationality, race, sex, language, religion, ethnic or social origin, birth or other status must be secondary.

- Respect for the Views of the Child.

A child victim who is capable of forming his or her views enjoys the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting him or her, for example, in decisions concerning his or her possible return to the family or country of origin.

The views of the child shall be given due weight in accordance with his or her age, maturity and best interest.

Right to Information

Child victim must be provided with accessible information about, for example, their situation, their entitlements, services available and the family reunification and/or repatriation process.

Information shall be provided in a language, which the child victim is able to understand. Suitable interpreters and social workers or psychiatrists shall be provided whenever child victims are questioned/interviewed or require access to services.

Right to Confidentiality

Information about a child victim that could endanger the child or the child’s family members must not be disclosed.

All necessary measures must be taken to protect the privacy and identity of child victims. The name, address or other information that could lead to the identification of the child victim or that of child’s family members, shall not be revealed to the public or media.

The permission of the child victim must be sought in an age-appropriate manner before sensitive information is disclosed.

- Right to be Protected

The state has a duty to protect and assist child victims and to ensure their safety. All decisions regarding child victims must be taken expeditiously.

VIII. Legal Definitions on which Child Trafficking Strategy is based:

For the purposes of this Strategy and Action Plan :

- Child Trafficking means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation either within or outside a country.1

- Exploitation includes exploitation for the purposes of prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or other services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, or the removal or transfer of organs

- Consent of the child victim to the intended exploitation is irrelevant, even if none of the following means have been used : force, coercion, abduction, deception, abuse of power or actions taken while the victim is in a state of vulnerability or in the control of another person.

- A Child Victim of trafficking is any person under 18 years of age.

- Children unaccompanied abroad are considered to be those children living abroad without their families.

1 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, signed in Palermo, December 2001/ UNICEF Guidelines for Protection of the Rights of Child Victims of Trafficking in SE Europe (2003)/ other relevant UN and international instruments.

IX. Domestic Legislative Framework on which Strategy is based:

Pursuant to the National Strategy to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, and relevant UN and other international instruments signed and ratified by Albania, a review of domestic legislation was carried out in 2001, aimed at increasing the punishments for specific forms of trafficking in human beings , and based on the internationally accepted distinction between traffickers and their victims, by which the trafficked adult or child is treated as a victim and is not criminalized.

In the Law ‘On some additions and amendment to the Criminal Code’ of 24 January 2001, distinct offences and penalties were created for trafficking of human beings, trafficking of women for purposes of prostitution, and the trafficking of minors for the purposes of exploitation.

In all cases, the punishment is higher when the victim is a minor, when the exploitation is exercised by a group of people, organized for profit, or when force is used, or the offence is committed repeatedly, in collusion with others, through the abuse of a state function, or by armed or criminal organizations

The Albanian Criminal Code also provides sanctions for criminal offences related directly or indirectly to trafficking in human beings, women and children. There included assistance for illegal crossing of the border, the exploitation, financing, and provision of premises for purposes of prostitution, the kidnapping of a person or child, endangering life or causing physical or psychological harm, sexual assault, removal or falsification of identification papers, passports and visas etc.

On 12 February 2004, the Albanian Parliament approved, on the proposal of the Council of Ministers, Law No. 9188, on further additions and amendments to the Albanian Criminal Code in all the above areas, including the trafficking of children. This law introduces new definitions for trafficking offences in line with the Palermo Trafficking Protocol, provides for higher penal sanctions and also heavy fines for the perpetrators of trafficking and illegal border crossing offences, as well as increasing the penalties for abuse of state office by an additional fourth.

The details of the relevant legislation as amended are set out in the Table below:

Article

Criminal Offence

Sanction

110/1

Recruitment, transportation, harbouring or receipt of persons through threat or use of force or other forms of compulsion or deception, or the giving or receipt of payment or other benefits to a person who controls another person, for the purpose of exploitation for prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, work or compelled services, slavery or others forms similar to slavery, making use of or transplanting organs, as well as other forms of exploitation.

Organization, management and financing of the trafficking of persons

In  collusion  with  others,  or  repeatedly,  or  accompanied  by mistreatment, making the victim commit various actions through the use of physical or psychological force, or causing serious harm to the trafficked person’s health.

Causing death to the trafficked person

Abuse of state function or public service

5-15 years

imprisonment, plus fine from 2-5 million lek

7-15 years

imprisonment, plus fine from 4-6 million lek

Not less than 15 years imprisonment, plus fine from 6-8 million lek

Life imprisonment

Imprisonment and fine increased by one fourth

114/a

Aggravated exploitation of prostitution, involvement of minors, coercion,   compulsion   to  engage   in  prostitution   outside  the jurisdiction, involvement in collusion with others, repeatedly, or of persons holding government or public functions.

7-15 years imprisonment

114/b

Recruitment, transportation, harbouring or receipt of women through threat or use of force or other forms of compulsion or deception, or the giving or receipt of payment or other benefits to a person who controls another person, for the purpose of exploitation for prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, work or compelled services, slavery or others forms similar to slavery, making use of or transplanting organs, as well as other forms of exploitation.

Organization, management and financing of the trafficking of women

In  collusion  with  others,  or  repeatedly,  or  accompanied  by mistreatment, making the woman victim commit various actions through the use of   physical or psychological force, or causing serious harm to the victim’s health

Causing death of the victim

Abuse of state function or public service

7-15 years

imprisonment, plus fine from 3-5 million lek

10-15 years imprisonment, plus fine from 5-7 million lek

Not less than 15 years imprisonment, plus fine from 6-8 million lek

Not less than 20 years or life imprisonment

Imprisonment and fine increased by one fourth

128/b

Recruitment, transportation, harbouring or receipt of minors, for the purpose of exploitation for prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, work or compelled services, slavery or other forms similar to slavery, making use of or transplanting organs, as well as other forms of exploitation.

Organization, management and financing of the trafficking of minors

In  collusion  with  others,  or  repeatedly,  or  accompanied  by mistreatment, making the child    victim commit various actions through the use of   physical or psychological force, or causing serious harm to the health of the trafficked child.

Causing death of the child

Abuse of state function or public service

7-15 years

imprisonment, plus fine from 4-6 million lek

10-20 years imprisonment, plus fine from 6-8 million lek

Not less than 15 years

imprisonment, plus fine from 6-8 million lek

Not less than twenty years or life imprisonment, plus a fine from 8-10 million lek

Imprisonment and fine increased by one fourth

297

Illegal crossing of the border.

Fine or up to 2 years imprisonment

298

Sheltering, accompanying, making available or use of means of sea, air or other transportation, with the purpose of assisting in the illegal crossing of the border

Assisting in illegal crossing of the border for purposes of profit. In collusion with others, or repeatedly, or causing serious harm. Causing death.

Abuse of state function or public service

1-4 years imprisonment, plus fine from 3-6 million lek.

3-7 years imprisonment, plus fine from 3-6 million lek

5-10 years

imprisonment, plus fine from 6-8 million lek

Not less than 15 years imprisonment, plus fine from 8-10 million lek

Imprisonment and fine increased by one fourth

109

Kidnapping or keeping a person hostage for purposes of gain or profit, to prepare the conditions for the commission of a crime, to help perpetrators or collaborators hide or escape from the scene of a crime, to avoid punishment, or to force the granting of requests and conditions for political or other purposes.

Kidnapping or keeping hostage a child under the age of 14.

Kidnapping or keeping hostage a person or child under the age of 14, proceeded by or accompanied by physical or psychological torture, if committed against several persons, or repeatedly.

Causing death of the person

10-20 years imprisonment

Not less then 15 years imprisonment.

Not less than 20 years imprisonment

Life imprisonment

X. Monitoring of Child Trafficking Strategy and Action Plan:

Responsibility for the monitoring and implementation of this National Strategy and Action Plan for the Fight against Child Trafficking and the Protection of Child Victims of Trafficking belongs with the Government Committee for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, which is chaired by the Minister of State for Coordination.

The Child Trafficking Working Group and every Ministry or Institution that has obligations under this strategy, will report on the course of their work for the implementation of the Child Trafficking Action Plan to the Minister of State and to the Government Committee for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, every three months, starting from the date of approval of the Strategy and Action Plan by the Council of Ministers.

The Committee will periodically inform the Prime Minister on the implementation of this Strategy and Action Plan.

XI.  Glossary of Abbreviations used in the National Strategy and Plan of Action for the Fight against Trafficking in Children and the Protection of Children Victims of Human Trafficking:

MoPO

Ministry of Public Order

Molsa

Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs

MoES

Ministry of Education and Science

MoS

Office of Minister of State for Coordination

MoJ

Ministry of Justice

MFA

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

MoLG

Ministry of Local Government and Decentralization

GPO

General Prosecutor’s Office

ASP

Albanian State Police

ICITAP

International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Mission

NGO

Non-governmental Organization

IO

International Organizations

ACTION PLAN

FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST CHILD TRAFFICKING

AND THE PROTECTION OF CHILD VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING

1. Prevention

Assess the adequacy of current border control measures as regards children, whether or not accompanied by family members, and improve, through training and other measures, the capacity of border control personnel to detect and interdict potentially trafficked children and their traffickers, and offer appropriate initial protection to the child.

Activities

Responsible Agencies

Timeline

Train border control personnel in procedures for the detection and prevention of child trafficking, and in the implementation of relevant international conventions and agreements signed and ratified by the Republic of Albania for dealing with child victims.

MoPO, ASP (with a special program) In cooperation with IOs and NGO-s

Up to

December

2005

Establish a dedicated database at border crossing points and centrally on children entering or leaving the country, whether or not accompanied by family members.

MoPO, ASP

Up to

December

2005

Initiate formal and ad-hoc co-operation between neighbouring country law enforcement agencies, and between national child protection structures, IOs and NGOs in these countries.

Activities

Responsible Agencies

Timeline

Review relevant bilateral law enforcement agreements between Albania and countries in the region, with particular reference to cooperation on child trafficking prevention.

MoPO, ASP, MFA

Up to December 2005

Negotiate   new   cooperation   agreements,   where   they do  not  exist,  particularly  with  neighbouring  countries, focusing on cooperation to detect trafficked and exploited children, the systematic collection and sharing of data on child trafficking, suspected authors and the methods and routes used, and the coordination of responses, including regulated and agreed border repatriation and processing procedures;

MoPO, ASP, MFA

Up to June 2006

Intensify ad hoc cross-border cooperation with neighbouring border police to regularly exchange information on child trafficking and prevention;

MoPO, ASP

Up to September 2005

Organize seminars, workshops and visits to exchange experiences   with   law   enforcement   officials   of   other countries involved in the fight against child trafficking.

MoPO, ASP, MoLSA In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Up to December 2005

Establish   analogous   contacts   between   national   child protection structures in the non-law enforcement area and corresponding government structures, international organizations   and   NGOs   in   countries   of   destination, especially those where there are considerable numbers of trafficked children;

MoPO, ASP, MoLSA, MFA In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Up to December 2005

Design targeted public awareness measures in cooperation with media, government and non-government structures.

Activities

Responsible Agencies

Timeline

Conduct public awareness campaigns warning of the dangers and penalties associated with child trafficking, using television and radio spots and programs, posters, leaflets, etc: provide information about child trafficking and its consequences in school curricula: promote   cultural   and   educational  activities  focusing  on child trafficking: organize of dedicated prevention campaigns targeting children in high risk communities and other vulnerable groups.

MoS, MoLSA MoES, In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Up to Sept. 2005

Provide information and training on child trafficking issues to target groups of officials, such as border and anti-trafficking police, Customs officers, education and social services personnel, and prosecutors;

MoPO, ASP, MoLSA, GPO, General Directorate of Customs,   MoES, In cooperation with IOs and NGO-s

Up to

December

2005

Continue to implement the joint program of the Ministry of Education and Science (MoES) and IOM for the training of teachers on child trafficking and its consequences.

MoES, MoS

Ongoing

Instruct and train, at local level, police, education, welfare personnel, prosecutors and specialized NGOs in child trafficking prevention:

Activities

Responsible Agencies

Timeline

Organize seminars for the above groups at local level on detecting missing and potentially trafficked children, minors at risk, and at-risk families, and methods for reporting on and dealing with such cases

MoPO, ASP, MoLSA, MoES, MoS, GPO. In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Up to

December

2005

Establish working groups, at local level, with the participation of police, education, social welfare personnel, prosecutors, civil registry officers, and NGOs, for the preparation of targeted public awareness programs and prevention measures for at-risk children;

MOPO, MoLG, MoES, MoS

Up to

December

2005

Take concerted official action to investigate and prevent child abandonment of education, and set up procedures for the academic reintegration and/or vocational training of children in care, and children who have a record of not attending school and are at greater risk of being trafficked.

Activities

Responsible Agencies

Timeline

Increase public awareness about compulsory education and the penalties for parents who do not send their children to school.

MoES, MoLG In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Ongoing

Instruct government authorities on the need to identify children who do not attend compulsory education, and establish, at Prefecture level, the necessary administrative structures and enforcement measures for the implementation of the law.

MoES, MoLG

Up to

September

2005

Establish a unit in the General Prosecutor’s Office, in cooperation with MoES, MoLSA, and MoPO, for the investigation and prosecution of child truancy cases;

GPO, MoES, MoLSA,

MoPO

In cooperation with

IOs and NGOs

Up to

September

2005

Organize special educational activities for children of divorced or one parent families who face social-economic problems in their homes.

MoES, MoLG, In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Up to

December

2005

Organize integrated classes, with specially designed education curricula, for children who have abandoned or do not attend school, especially focusing on children from the Roma community and ‘street children’.

MoES, MoLG

In cooperation with

IOs and NGOs

Up to

September

2005

Take steps to encourage participation in middle school education by girls and female adolescents, especially in rural areas.

MoES, MoLG, MoS

2005 and ongoing

Provide professional/vocational training for adolescents who live in poor economic conditions, and especially for victims of trafficking, and orphans and girls who have not attended school education, to make them future competitors in the labour market, using the model of vocational training centers already established in Tirana, Fier and Elbasan;

MoES, MoLG, MoLSA In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Up to

December

2005

Establish, in cooperation with specialized NGOs and national and IO partners and donors, an employment information system to provide information on preparing business projects, and on the financial  and  technical  resources  available  for  promoting  the employment of adolescents.

MoLG, MoLSA

In cooperation with

IOs and NGO-s

Up to

September

2005

Seek   international NGO and IO financing for home-based employment projects, on the model of initiatives and projects already undertaken by International Social Service (ISS), supported in Albania by the Italian Social Service.

MoLG, MoLSA

In cooperation with

IOs and NGO-s

Up to

December

2005

Improve the economic level of children from marginalized groups, especially the Roma community, by including them in employment incentive programs, and by providing material, financial and human resources, as well as premises for their employment in traditional handicraft production.

MoLSA, MoES, MoE In cooperation with IOs and NGO-s

2005 and ongoing

Promote  and  support  the  establishment  of  day  centers  and community  services  for  the  integration  of  Roma  children  in education and in trafficking prevention programs.

MoLSA, MoES

In cooperation with

IOs and NGOs

2005 and ongoing

Instruct the State Inspectorate of Labour to exercise control over the illegal/‘black’ labour of children, especially Roma children, and take appropriate measures to prevent it.

MoLSA, MoES

2005 and ongoing

Improve conditions in public and non-public child care institutions, including conditions for the personal well-being, education, and social integration of child victims of trafficking, and reflect the new requirements in the regulations of these institutions;

MoLSA, MoES

In cooperation with

IOs and NGO-s

Up to

September

2005

Develop methodological guidelines and organize trainings for public social service workers on the protection of children in care, and on the social, educational and professional integration needs of children in child care institutions;

MoLSA

In cooperation with

IOs and NGO-s

Up to June 2005

2. Protection of Victims

Provide appropriate shelter accommodation for the initial referral of child victims of trafficking and those detected in the process of being trafficked, to prepare them for an orderly return to their families or to alternative protected environments, if return to families is not appropriate or possible.

Activities

Responsible Agencies

Timeline

Draft regulations on the requirements and procedures for receiving and processing child victims of trafficking at border crossing points and elsewhere, in the case of arrests or repatriation;

MoLSA, MoPO, ASP, In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Up to June 2005

Establish dedicated  areas with the  necessary  infrastructure  at border crossing points for the reception and accommodation of child trafficking victims, prior to referral to families, social services or shelters;

MoPO, ASP, MoLSA In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Up to

September

2005

Establish standards for the initial handling of child victims of trafficking, to be implemented by public and private social care institutions, other child protection structures, criminal justice and law enforcement authorities, based on the best interest of the child.

MoLSA, MoS, MoJ,

GPO

In cooperation with

IOs and NGOs

Up to June 2005

Improve the capacity of the National Reception Center for Victims of Trafficking to receive and accommodate child victims of trafficking;

MoLSA,

In cooperation with

IOs and NGOs

Up to June 2005

Establish dedicated multidisciplinary teams and special environments appropriate to the age and gender of child victims within the National Reception Center for Victims of Trafficking;

MoLSA

Up to

September

2005

Improve the professional level of social welfare staff responsible for the initial reception of child trafficking victims, through professional development and training on the assistance and treatment of traumatized children, as well as on guardianship, adoption, fostering procedures;

MoLSA,

In cooperation with

IOs and NGOs

Up to June 2005

Draft   regulations   for   the   unification   and   implementation   of procedures for initial reception, interviewing, and confidentiality of information related to child trafficking victims, in accordance with the proposed witness protection program and the multi-functional role of the National Reception Center for Victims of Trafficking;

MoLSA, MoS, GPO, In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Up to June 2005

Negotiate and sign appropriate agreements between government child protection structures, including the National Reception Center for Victims of Trafficking, and IOs and domestic NGOs, (including ‘Vatra’, ‘Terre des Hommes’, IOM, UNICEF, ILO, and other members of the BKTF (‘Together against Child Trafficking’ Coalition), for the unified implementation of reception, protection and integration procedures for child victims of trafficking;

MoLSA, MoPO, GPO,

MoS

In cooperation with

IOs and NGOs

Up to June 2005

Devise dedicated integration and reintegration programs for children who stay on a long-term basis in shelters.

MoLSA In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Up to June 2005

Promote and support temporary and permanent foster care services for  repatriated  child  victims  of  trafficking,  children  at  risk  of trafficking or re-trafficking, and those whose parental custody has been removed on a temporary or permanent basis.

MoLSA

In cooperation with

IOs and NGO-s

June

2005 and ongoing

Promote, support and standardize foster care services, based on models proposed by IOs and NGOs for these services

MoLSA,

In cooperation with

IOs and NGOs

Up to Sept 2005

Conclude cooperation agreements and contracts with specialized NGOs offering foster care services.

MoLSA, MoS

Up to

September

2005

Take all necessary measures to protect the privacy of children, including any information that could lead to the identification of the child or other family members;

MoLSA, MoPO, GPO

Ongoing

Development of protection and reintegration models for actual or intended victims of child trafficking who are orphaned or cannot for other reasons return to their families.

Activities

Responsible Agencies

Timeline

Review   the   regulations   for   institutions   for   children   under guardianship, and establish the necessary responsibilities for the implementation of foster care services and adoption procedures;

MoLSA

In cooperation with

IOs and NGOs

Up to Sept 2005

Devise   special   protection   and   re-integration   procedures   for trafficked or at risk orphan children, in accordance with their rights and specific needs.

MoLSA

Up to June 2005

Provide training for child care officials in central and local government, as well as for workers in public and private institutions involved in the protection and reintegration of trafficked or at risk children, in relevant domestic and international legislation and instruments, UNICEF Guidelines, and other recognized codes of conduct on child care, adoption, fostering and rehabilitation.

Activities

Responsible Agencies

Timeline

Design  and  implement  vocational training  courses for  the medium to long-term formation of a cadre of care workers capable  of  sustaining  the  specialized  child  care  functions envisaged in the actions outlined above, and for central and local structures dealing with such issues.

MoLSA In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

September 2005 and ongoing

Provide new services for the protection and reintegration of current and intended victims of trafficking by public and private social care institutions, with the assistance of NGOs, IOs and donors.

Activities

Responsible Agencies          Timeline

Establish at central and prefecture levels Mobile Help Teams of law enforcement, NGOs, social welfare and health personnel to assist in initial referral and shelter of child trafficking victims.

MoLSA, MoPO, MoLG, In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Up to Sept 2005

Establish   child    protection   structures    in   communes and municipalities consisting of education, health and social services, law enforcement, prosecution and local government officials, as well as relevant non government actors, responsible for coordinating and implementing child protection and trafficking prevention activities and policies.

MoLSA, MoS, MoPO, MoLG, in cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Up to

December

2005

Provide training for the above mentioned structures at central and     prefecture levels;

MoLSA, MoPO, MoLG In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Up to June 2006

Take   steps   to   monitor   adoption,   foster   care   and reintegration cases.

MoLSA, Adoption Committee

Ongoing, case by case

Provide financial and other forms of assistance to foster and real families, particularly in cases where the latter were not involved in trafficking and their children denounce their traffickers.

MoLSA

In cooperation with IOs

and NGOs

Ongoing case by case

3. Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers

Improve procedures for the detection and interdiction of child trafficking, and the prosecution and punishment of offenders.

Activities

Responsible Agencies

Timeline

Establish cooperation, at national and local levels, between social services, law enforcement, prosecution structures and specialized NGOs to exchange information about suspected cases of trafficking and/or illegal migration, and about children at risk.

MoLSA, MoPO, GPO In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Ongoing

Select and train cadres of specialized police officers, prosecutors and judges to deal with child trafficking investigations and prosecutions.

MoPO, MoJ, GPO

Up to Sept 2005, and ongoing

Establish and operate juvenile sectors at the District Courts, and establish special sectors for juvenile investigations at the Investigation Directorate and Prosecution Control Directorate of the Prosecution Offices.

MoJ, GPO, MoPO,

September 2005

Implement a dedicated approach to witness protection for child trafficking victims, through amended criminal justice legislation, specifically designed to recognize the rights and vulnerability of a child witness during police and judicial investigations, establish corresponding police and prosecution questioning and court procedures, and take steps to protect child victim/witnesses from direct contact with suspected offenders before or during trial hearings, as well as from subsequent retaliation.

MoJ, MoPO, GPO In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

December 2005 and Ongoing

Ensure that law enforcement and prosecution services have full information on child victims, taking into account their levels of maturity, about their rights in accordance with the domestic legislation and international instruments, prior to their deciding whether to testify against persons suspected of involvement in their trafficking or exploitation.

MoPO, GPO, MoJ

Ongoing, case by case

Ensure that the provision of assistance to child victims of trafficking is not made conditional on the child’s willingness to testify against his/her traffickers.

MoJ, MoPO, GPO, MoLSA

Ongoing, case by case

Ensure the right of children to return to their families, shelter accommodation or foster homes, after questioning by judicial police authorities.

MoPO, GPO, MoLSA

Ongoing

Ensure the confidentiality of information about a child victim so as not to endanger the child or the child’s family members.

MoPO, GPO

Ongoing

Establish a National Register of Crimes against Children to register all persons who have been convicted of offences against children, including child trafficking, in order to avoid their future employment in public or private education or childcare institutions.

MoJ, MoLSA, GPO

Up to December 2005

4. Assisted Voluntary Return of Child Victims

Regulate and fund Assisted Voluntary Return procedures for Child Trafficking Victims

Activities

Responsible Agencies

Timeline

Negotiate   new   or   amended   bilateral   agreements   with neighbouring   and   other   European   destination   or   transit countries, particularly Greece and Italy, for the mutual notification, secure accommodation, and orderly and co-coordinated voluntary return of child trafficking victims, through processes respecting the rights and interests of the child, and their prospects for social reintegration.

GPO, MoJ, MoPO, MFA

September 2005 and ongoing

Draft procedures for the assisted voluntary return of child victims of trafficking, based on the principle of the best interest of the child, the right of a child to decide whether or not to return to his/her family or country of origin; and in accordance with established international standards for repatriation procedures.

MoLSA, MoPO, GPO, In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Up to

September

2005

Establish  a  structure  at  central  government  level  with responsibility for overseeing the problems of protection and assisted voluntary return of child trafficking victims or at risk of being trafficked, and the coordination of procedures with   domestic   partners   and   corresponding   government structures, NGOs and IOs in the main countries of destination, particularly Italy and Greece.

MoLSA, Equal

Opportunities’

Committee

In cooperation with

NGOs and IOs

Up to June 2005

Continue to implement current programs for the identification and assisted voluntary return of unaccompanied children from Italy and Greece, and use the experience gained from these programs in implementing the above initiatives.

MoLSA, MoPO

In cooperation with

NGOs and IOs

Ongoing

Prepare and distribute, with assistance and advice from national and international NGOs, leaflets/brochures targeting child victims of trafficking inside and outside the country, with information on their status, rights and the services offered for return to their families and the repatriation process.

MoLSA, MFA, MoS, In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Up to

September

2005

Instruct consular staff at Albanian diplomatic missions on the verification of data and timely processing of travel and other documents for children who wish to be repatriated.

MFA,

In cooperation with

IOs and NGOs

Up to Sept 2005

Instruct and train Albanian consular personnel in applying internationally    recognized    protection    and    referral    to competent authorities’ procedures for Albanian children who have been trafficked or at risk of being otherwise exploited in host countries.

MFA In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Up to Sept 2005

Provide information and training for personnel in local Civil Status Offices on the procedures for providing information required about a child;

MoLG

In cooperation with

IOs and NGOs

Up to Sept 2005

5. Coordination of Child Anti-Trafficking Partners

Activities

Responsible Agencies

Timeline

Establish  a  dedicated  national  child  protection  structure operating at central and prefecture level to coordinate and supervise the national and local activities of education, health and social services, law enforcement, prosecution and local government structures, and to cooperate with relevant IOs, NGOs and local level partnerships for the implementation of the strategies and actions contained in this Action Plan.

MoLSA, MoLG, MoES, MoPO, ASP, GPO, MoS In cooperation with IOs and NGOs

Up to

September

2005

Create a network of anti-child trafficking partnerships at local/ municipal level, consisting of NGOs and representatives of local social welfare, medical, education, police and prosecution services, to advise and assist victims and families, and to liaise with central government structures, as well as with corresponding international organizations, shelters and other protection structures.

MoLSA, MoLG, MoPO, ASP, GPO, In cooperation with IOs and NGO-s

Up to

December

2005

Negotiate Memorandums of Understanding between ministries and  other  state  institutions  involved  in  child  trafficking prevention and protection and national and local NGOs and IOs, to regulate the respective rights and responsibilities of the parties, in the interests of transparency and the mutual legal protection of victims and those assisting them.

MoS, MoLSA

In cooperation with

IOs and NGO-s

Up to June 2005

Take   steps   to   develop   transboundary   and   international coordination   between   child   trafficking   NGOs,   reception centers, ‘hotlines’ and related entities in Albania and their counterparts in neighbouring and other destination countries, to enhance implementation of the policies and actions outlined above, particularly as regards assisted voluntary return.

MFA, MoPO, MoLSA,

MoS

In cooperation with

IOs and NGOs

Up to

December

2005

Devise a comprehensive and coordinated system for collecting, analyzing and disseminating data on child trafficking, based on a methodology agreed by all partners, official, NGO and IO.

MoLSA, MoS

In cooperation with

IOs and NGOs

Up to Sept 2005