Identification of victims of trafficking

Vatra works for the identification of victims/potential victims of trafficking in order to remove them from the situation of exploitation or risk of trafficking, their referral, and involvement in the assistance and protection programs.

Identification is carried out through the mobile units set up by Vatra in 5 regions of Albania: Vlora since 2013; Diber, Berat and Durres from 2020 and in the region of Lezha from May 2022.

The Mobile Units consist of 2 social workers, who do proactive outreach work to identify and refer victims/ potential victims of trafficking based on Standard Operating Procedures for the Protection of Victims / Potential Victims of Trafficking (Approved by DCM No. 499, dated 29.08.2018). The Mobile Units target and access marginalized areas and groups as well as individuals who have limited access to information and protection, or who are at risk of being trafficked.

"Vatra" Center has signed cooperation agreements with the Police Directorates in the above regions, in order to coordinate the work of the mobile units with the police officers of the sector against illegal trafficking in these directorates.

In addition to proactive outreach work for the identification of cases, the Mobile Units conduct informative sessions with 9th -graders and high schoolers, community members, women, girls, men and boys, in order to inform them about the recognition of human trafficking, forms of prevention, protection and reintegration services, access to justice and victims' rights according to the legislation in force, etc. Of particular importance during these informative sessions are the employees of the mobile units who guide the participants on how to report suspected cases of trafficking or at risk of being trafficked. A significant number of cases identified by the mobile units have been reported by young people or community members who have participated in these informative sessions.

Each case identified by the Mobile Units is reported in real-time to the police officer of the anti-trafficking department in order to immediately intervene and start an investigation for the perpetrators who have committed the crime. The Mobile Units also notify the Responsible Authority at the Office of the National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator in the Ministry of Interior, an obligation that derives from the Standard Operating Procedures for the Protection of Victims of Trafficking.

Employees of the Mobile Units cooperate not only with the police but also with the employees of social services, Child Protection Unit in the respective municipalities where the case of the minor victim of trafficking is identified, the psychologists, social workers and teachers of secondary schools or high schools.

After the identification, the Mobile Units refer to the protection services all identified cases of victims / potential victims of trafficking.