A £2m boost to deliver work in Albanian human trafficking hotspots has been announced by Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability Victoria Atkins.
The programme will help tackle the flow of modern slavery to the UK by supporting victims to rebuild their lives and by deterring vulnerable people from falling into the hands of traffickers in Albania. The UK will also support criminal justice officials to ensure perpetrators of this awful crime are brought to justice.
In 2017, over 770 potential modern slavery victims were referred to UK authorities and identified as Albanian nationals – the highest figure for a country outside Britain.
Modern slavery is an abhorrent crime that entraps the most vulnerable people globally and denies them their liberty.
The UK is regarded as a world leader in tackling this crime, not only due to our tough laws and support for victims at home, but also our work abroad to support victims, ensure offenders are caught and stop vulnerable people falling into the hands of traffickers.
By working with our Albanian partners, we can make a crucial difference to the lives of those who have had some of their most basic rights stolen from them.
Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability Victoria Atkins
Government research has highlighted that the capital Tirana and the 3 northern districts of Diber, Shkoder and Kukes, in Albania, are where the majority of victims originate. It is in these districts where the UK will focus its support.
Testimonies from Albanian victims who have been trafficked into the UK highlight the importance of working to tackling modern slavery in the region:
“First there was no life, because I was held against my will.”
“When I accessed services my life started, because now I am free and now I can laugh and I can make friends, I can chose to do what I want, all because of my support workers.”
The funding runs until March 2021 to assist Albanian victims with their reintegration into society once they are identified, as well as educating vulnerable communities about the dangers of trafficking.
The package, from the Home Office’s Modern Slavery Fund, also includes training for Albanian criminal justice officials so that they are better prepared to deal with human trafficking cases, meaning those responsible are more likely to face justice.
The Modern Slavery Helpline
The Helpline provides 24/7 specialist support across the UK to victims and to those
who want to report a suspicion of modern slavery or seek advice. The information
gathered from calls provides valuable intelligence on the nature and scale
of modern slavery in the UK, which is used to create strategies with which to tackle it.
Call the helpline on 08000 121 700 or visit the Unseen website.