Advocacy & Lobbying

In the framework of this program, Vatra contributes and undertakes lobbying initiatives to improve the legal framework, carries out advocacy activities to improve national and local policies and effective practices, which ensure the protection of the rights of survivors of human trafficking, sexual abuse, and other forms of gender-based violence and children in need of protection.

At the local level: Vatra is a member of the Regional Anti-Trafficking Committee / Technical Anti-Trafficking Roundtable at the Prefecture of Vlora, the National Mechanism for Referral of Cases of Domestic Violence in Vlora Municipality.

Also, since Vatra provides services for victims of trafficking and gender-based violence not only in the region of Vlora but all over the country, it is considered a close ally and collaborator of the Regional Anti-Trafficking Committees / Technical Roundtables in other regions of the country and of the National Mechanism for Referral of Cases of Domestic Violence in many other municipalities. Vatra actively participates in the meetings organized by these local mechanisms, by presenting the situation, challenges and difficulties faced by victims during the rehabilitation and reintegration process. Vatra requires the institutions, and members of these multidisciplinary mechanisms to assume their responsibilities in order to address the needs and difficulties faced by victims and their final resolution.

Vatra has also contributed and continues to contribute to the drafting and improvement of social plans of Vlora Municipality and beyond, as well as advocating to the Municipal Councils (of Vlora, Himara, Selenica, Berat, Fier, Kuçova, etc.) by hastening them to prioritize services in the annual budgets for the protection for victims of trafficking, sexual abuse, domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence and their children.

At the national level: During these 22 years Vatra has been part of many national initiatives and its experts have been members of working groups for:

- the improvement of the legal framework and drafting of new laws focusing on improving the protection and assistance of victims of trafficking, abuse, violence and child protection; sentencing the perpetrators of criminal offenses in accordance with other Conventions and International Instruments ratified by the Albanian state.

- drafting national strategies and action plans against human trafficking (latest 2021-2023); national strategies and action plans against gender-based violence (latest 2021-2030)

- drafting the first National Strategy "On Legal Education of the Public" 2020-2023.

- drafting and improvement of Standard Operating Procedures for the Protection of Victims of Trafficking / potential victims of trafficking approved by DCM no. 499, dated 29.08.2018

- drafting of a Protocol for the Management of Cases of sexual violence against adults, at the local level through a coordinated multi-sectoral approach.

- drafting the Protocol for the Management of Cases of Domestic Violence at the local level, through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).

- drafting of the Management Protocol for the Cases of Domestic Violence at the local level, through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) during the COVID 19 situation.

- Drafting the Protocol for the functioning of public and non-public residential centers that provide housing service (shelters) for victims of domestic violence and trafficking in the situation of the pandemic COVID19, approved by Order no. 254 dated 10.04.2020 of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection.

Drafting of Standards for Residential Centers for Victims of Trafficking and Domestic Violence.

Since 2005 Vatra is a signatory member of the Agreement with the National Referral Mechanism and from this year actively participates in meetings organized by the National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator at the Ministry of Interior where it raises concrete concerns and gives recommendations for the effective functioning of this mechanism regarding identification, referral and protection of victims / potential victims of trafficking.

As a member of different coalitions, Vatra has been part of public reactions as a result of the violation of the rights of women and children victims of trafficking, abuse and violence. Among them it is worth pointing out the reactions as part of the Albanian Women’s Empowerment Network (AWEN), the National Coalition of Anti-Trafficking Shelters, the Coalition "Justice for All", the Network for Monitoring Against Gender-Based Violence, the "United Response Against Trafficking" URAT Network, etc.

At the international level, As an active organization and part of the national anti-trafficking and anti-violence mechanisms based on gender and with several years of expertise in this field, Vatra is invited to contribute to important reports of international institutions such as the Report on Trafficking in Persons (TIP REPORT) of the US Department of State, GRETA report (Expert Group on Monitoring the Implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings), the Council of Europe Progress Report on Albania. Regarding the latest report of more than 10 years with the support of Kvinna Till Kvinna Foundation in Sweden, Vatra participates in direct consultative meetings in Brussels with high-level representatives of the Council of Europe, the European Commission and members of the European Parliament.

For all the above reports, Vatra provides input on the situation of human trafficking in Albania, issues related to the rights of victims as well as recommendations for the improvement of Albanian anti-trafficking policies and legislation.

The findings and recommendations that Vatra has shared with the US Embassy in Tirana, the Council of Europe and Greta Group of Experts are considered important and many of them are reflected in the respective reports.

Vatra has contributed to the drafting of alternative and shadow reports on human trafficking issues for the implementation of the CEDAW Convention in Albania. These reports have been undertaken to be realized by partner organizations and networks.

As a member of several international networks such as: La Strada International, RENATE, Child 10, 2021 network of organizations, WAVE etc. Vatra has become an active part of advocacy initiatives undertaken by these networks, by offering its contribution and expertise in drafting reports, advocacy statements, input to specific laws, etc., regarding the improvement of policies at the European level in the field of human trafficking and gender-based violence and specifically in the protection of the rights of children, women and girls, victims of trafficking, sexual abuse and forced labor.

Vatra is invited to participate in Conferences organized by national and international organizations inside and outside the country during which it presents the situation of human trafficking and gender-based violence, national policies for the protection of victims in Albania, existing services in the country for this target group, challenges etc.

An important tool for advocacy that Vatra uses is also the implementation, publication and dissemination of studies, analyses and research, the findings and recommendations which are widely used not only by Vatra but also by other organizations and networks to advocate the Albanian government to improve the legislation and national policies.

During three lasts years 2020-2022 Vatra has conducted 3 studies in the field of human trafficking and gender-based violence, which can be easily downloaded from the "Publications" section of its website.

1.     Study " Compliance of the Albanian legal framework with the Acquis Communautaire of the European Union in the area of the fight against Trafficking in Human Beings"

2.     Study "Access and quality of services for victims / potential of human trafficking in Albania”

3.     Study "Access and quality of services for victims of domestic violence and gender-based violence in Albania"