UNICEF Albania and its partners are currently implementing a programme, funded from the Home Office UK Government, that will contribute towards an overall reduction in human trafficking in and from Albania. The programme brings together various initiatives to reinforce active prevention of, and protection from, human trafficking, and then to amplify these efforts with focus on the change that must occur to bring about a lasting and sustainable impact. In the long run, these efforts will be complemented by implementation of actions with a progressive approach to address the root causes of human trafficking, through long-term engagement among government, civil society and local communities, with direct communication with individuals, families and communities in at-risk areas in the country.

The present first wave survey, implemented by IDRA Research & Consulting, set out to understand and explore the level of youth knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding human trafficking in the regions of Diber, Kukes, Shkoder and Tirana.

Data were collected through face-to-face interviews with youth (15 – 29 years old) from the four regions during August 2020. In all, 1,537 interviews were conducted (including a booster with Roma youth).

Some general findings of the study are:

  • The level of knowledge on human trafficking among surveyed Albanian youth is relatively high, but there is significant scope for strengthening it regarding the types of exploitation that occur.
  • Overall, knowledge among the youth about the meaning of human trafficking is sound. Whereas they may be unable to define the term accurately, they understand that it is a human rights issue (47%), a crime (22%), and related to (irregular) migration (10%).
  • Most youth in these areas consider that the trafficking of Albanians to foreign countries is a serious issue. They are, however, less aware of the occurrence of the phenomenon within the country.
  • Surveyed youth know that they can report human trafficking to the police but are not very aware of other reporting lines. The most frequently selected options to the question of how suspected human trafficking cases can be reported were: Police station (87%), and Police hotline 129 (60%).
  • Knowledge of the various types of support available to victims of human trafficking is still low among the youth surveyed (about 41% unaware of any kind of support).
  • Respondents think that law enforcement measures are the most effective means for preventing human trafficking, and give less significance to the socioeconomic factors that make people vulnerable to human trafficking.
  • The youth that were surveyed would like to know more about human trafficking and engage in activities countering the phenomenon through watching a film or documentary on the topic (49% ‘a great deal’ or ‘a lot’), reporting possible cases (49%), followed closely by watching an investigative TV program on human trafficking (48%). The least popular responses were: “play a game or quiz on your smartphone about human trafficking” (23%), “volunteering for an antitrafficking NGO” (28%), and “engaging in a local antitrafficking campaign” (30%).

Following the communication strategy, a second wave survey will be conducted in the same target areas, and will measure shifts in targeted or selected knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding human trafficking in Albania, and assess the formats and messages on human trafficking that have led to positive shifts in youth knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding the phenomenon.