The difficult years of transition in Albania led to rapid growth in the number of Albanian girls involved in the sex industry. In recent years, through the work of numerous associations, is trying to break down the wall of silence that surrounds sexual exploitation and violence against women.
Prostitution in Albania has remained for a long time behind the scenes and has received little attention from the government that has proved indifferent to the problem when he began to assume worrying proportions. And ‘only merit of information for journalists, NGOs and international NGOs female Albanians, if the public perceives today prostitution as a serious social problem.
A first important study on prostitution in Albania (Albania and abroad) was done in 1997 by the Albanian women “Useful to Albanian Women” and the information included in this paragraph shall be drawn by him. In this section also refers to a research conducted by LULE Milan, founded in 1996 by a group of volunteers of Caritas sensitive opposite the condition of marginalization and exploitation of street prostitutes and engaged in cultural activities (information and public awareness), the activities of street (made with mobile units with which they regularly reach the Albanian girls and offers them support, guidance and protection of health), activities of acceptance and cooperation with local NGOs.
According to research “Prostitution – Society in Dilemma” prostitution is not a phenomenon exploded suddenly in the 90s but has gradually formed over the years as a result of specific historical events.
During the long Turkish domination have spread in the country the harem in which the rich local lords exercising their property on women which usually belonged to lower classes of society. During the reign of Zog I of Albania has embarked on the path of stability and modernization. The new legislation recognised prostitution as a profession and fixed legal the brothels. With the Italian colonization this phenomenon has consolidated.
In 1945, after the liberation from German troops and the rise to power of Enver Hoxha, was introduced an article in the penal code that forbade prostitution and considered the exercise and exploitation of the same offences punishable with imprisonment. The special decree also provided for the closure of all brothels. Nevertheless, the authors of the research, prostitution, albeit behind the scenes and in smaller proportions, has continued to exist. The heads of the party had its own private harem while real brothels of elites were opened in secret with the connivance and coverage of political officials. The lack of freedom and independent media have made invisible phenomenon.
Apart from these considerations, Albania has inherited from the past interview an experience of prostitution very weak, almost non-existent.
The reasons which have encouraged the emergence and spread of prostitution in the 90s must be sought in 50 years of hard isolation and political and economic chaos that occurred with the fall of the regime.
With the opening of borders and the sudden availability of a high degree of freedom, people have been found opposite the welfare of the western world without any means of assessment. After 500 years of domination turkish and 45 of dictatorship, the country has embarked on the path of unbridled capitalism with the aim to emulate, in the shortest possible time, the West. The people there is a widespread belief that you can have everything and now. The disorder and the inability policy then, have generated confidence in the institutions and legal system and have prompted many Albanians to undertake any activity, even illegal. The management of prostitution is considered half to earn money quickly and effortlessly.
The economic crisis that has brought unemployment, especially women, at high levels is a major cause of the development of prostitution.
The phenomenon takes two roads: Albania itself and abroad.
Within the country prostitution takes different forms depending on the places where it is practiced and Albanian girls that play. There is localized prostitution in hotels (luxury in the capital, but also in economic province), in bars and public spaces in private apartments, in brothels and on the street.
The Albanian girls who “work” in luxury hotels are generally autonomous, good cultural level and their contacts are almost always with foreigners. It can therefore talk about a “prostitution elite.” Since 1991 was also registered the presence of foreign Albanian girls (Croatian and Bulgarian) in hotels classmates. The Albanian girls who prostitute themselves in the hotels of the second category of the capital, but especially in the province are simple Albanian girls, without a great cultural preparation also because their customers are from different social backgrounds. Usually the Albanian girls come from rural areas.
Except in cases of prostitution elite, where Albanian girls exercising the profession in full autonomy in other cases is the frequent presence of an exploiter or an organization that extracts the gains Albanian girls and binds to their profession with threats and intimidation.
The existence of brothels instead has become evident only in 1996 when a newspaper gave news denouncing the owners of the premises.
Then there is the street prostitution. In Tirana, there are particular areas of the city where you can find
Albanian girls: in the centre, near the major hotels on the main streets. This type of prostitution but also exists in other cities of Albania.
The Albanian girls street usually belong to the lower strata of society and many Albanian girls are Roma. The latter, which usually have 12, 13, 14 years are very cheap. Usually the meetings with customers take place, both day and night, in one of the most degraded areas of the city, under bridges, river Lana.
“Prostitution in Albania is of two types: voluntary and forced.” It is to be considered, however, that more often than not, behind a choice that seems self-conscious and, hiding of force, social and psychological variables that can not be neglected.
The vacuum of values, finding its own identity, lack of a working and viable alternatives at home lead many
Albanian girls into prostitution. Ask the prostitute becomes a “profession” that generates income. Others decide to do it because driven by the desire to live independently, away from family or driven by the desire to have the luxuries promised by a Western lifestyle.
Many Albanian girls are taken instead to by force after being abducted, sold or deceived. Rarely has denounced the exploitation because they fear the reaction of their protectors, men violent and unscrupulous, either because they have difficulty in asserting their rights in a country where respect for legality is still uncertain.
The prostitution of women Albanians has become a worrying phenomenon even outside from Albania. “Already in the early’90 Albanian girls were required with regard to the markets of sex Milan, Rome and Athens because they were very cheap, but mainly because the risk did not have AIDS. The first to arrive were those already in Albania prostitution ; Came mainly from the main cities of Albania (Tirana and Durres) and had levels of schooling medium-high. Later however, when it was realized that this was a profitable, the number of Albanian girls (this time coming from the villages and a cultural level lower) has grown considerably, “not just in Italy but also in Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Bulgaria, Macedonia.
Within a short time prostitution has become a phenomenon organized. “It has started to form an informal network of small independent clans that generally govern on bonds of family farming. Each clan is usually made up 7 / 8 male elements, each of which controls 2 / 4 Albanian girls. Only some of the gains are put on sharing to buy goods like home, car and weapons, while the rest of the revenue is managed independently by each member of the clan. The environment of prostitution is extremely competitive especially with regard to the control of territory and struggles between clans can become very violent. ”
It ‘hard to believe that the Italian crime has left these small groups management of the market for prostitution. More likely, however crime Italian has not renounced gains arising from prostitution, but decided to start new relations with the nascent Albanian crime.
The management mechanism of trafficking involves 5 steps:
— Recruitment of the girl in Albania;
— Stay in a city of Albania waiting to leave the country;
— Crossing the channel of Otranto, departing from the port of Vlora (Vlorë), as soon as weather conditions permit;
— Accommodation of the girl in the target location and preparation for the “work” using, if necessary, violence;
— Placement on the road.
The recruitment of Albanian girls takes place in the suburbs or urban Albanians in the areas of campaign. The cities from which the majority of Albanian girls are those of the centre and south of the country; Tirana, Durres (Durrës), Fier, Vlora, Elbasan, Berat, Lushnjë and the surrounding countryside are the traditional areas of collection of youth from the start prostitution. But now the phenomenon has assumed enormous proportions and it can be said that no city in Albania was not affected by this social scourge, even the traditional regions of the north.
In recent years in Albania, the mentality is changing rapidly and in many villages the attitude of men against women is becoming more permissive (although most often this happens for economic needs). There is however always make a distinction: towns and rural areas in the south continue to be more open and modern than those of the north still linked to traditional patriarchal values. This is one of the reasons why many Albanian prostitutes come from south of the country.
Almost always come from a social context poor and degraded, there are fragile, easily manipulated or belonging to families in terms of economic and social hardship. If job opportunities are scarce in cities, where it is possible to find something, they become virtually nonexistent in the villages. This explains why despite closed areas and attached to the traditions, are both the primary source for the recruitment of prostitution.
The reality of Albanian Albanian girls who prostitute in Italy is quite complex and changeable and thus excessive generalizations would be inadequate. Nevertheless, “you can define a case of Albanian girls conducted abroad and then engage in the activity of prostitutes.”
1) Albanian girls lied : This is Albanian girls involved in emotional relationship with a man (the trafficker) who feigns love and convinces the girl to follow him in Italy a better life. To make the operation more realistic use the technique of formal engagement in the family (then becomes “an instrumental use of ancient traditions” still very strong in Albania) which allows a “symbolic delivery of the future bridegroom girl who assume Social custody. ” Since then the man becomes the focal point of the girl, takes a protective attitude then that will facilitate the transition to the stage of exploitation and violence. The engagement also prevents the girl to return home them, as the abandonment of companion for its part would entail the risk of social exclusion. Return to Albania is not easy because they fear the reaction of family members and the public.
2) Albanian girls abducted: are generally very young, come from areas of the province and are stealing a very poor families.
3) Albanian girls sold by their parents: what happens in contexts characterized by a profound misery material, social and cultural?
4) Albanian girls who leave themselves Albania in search of more perspectives: the case of Albanian girls who leave the country often with documents in order, but arrived in Italy fail to settle and fall victims of the clan of fellow who withdraw their documents and forced into prostitution.
5) Albanian girls conscious and consenting: Albanian girls are already prostitution in Albania or are prepared to do this in order to get rich quickly. Some are autonomous, but since the activity is risky prefer to have as a reference a boy who protect. Although now the problem of prostitution is widely known in Albania, even in the most remote areas of the Interior, however, many Albanian girls who come to Italy prostitution aware of having to show a low level of awareness of what really should do and the real risk that will have.
After conducting the girl in Italy, the trafficker is seeking to persuade to tackle the sidewalk, and if not we can become extremely violent. “The most disconcerting for the management of prostitution in Albania are the mistreatment to which they are subjected Albanian girls reaching levels not seen in other ethnic groups.” One explanation for this may have distant roots: in the deep lack of respect for the woman and patriarchy.
The Albanian girls Albanians are not commuters but sedentary or live near the place where prostitutes. In Italy, prostitution is mainly street prostitution because there are no houses of tolerance and the so-called local sex (night-clubs, bars or pubs) are very few.
The Albanian girls are endowed by their exploiter of a mobile phone with which to keep constantly under control. The revenue of the day must be transferred entirely to the protector, and only in rare cases, when the girl is able to establish agreements with the exploiter, manages to retain for himself the 50% gain. To control the amounts collected exploiter delivery Albanian girls a defined number of condoms that at the end of the day are counted. In this way the girl can not part of the receipts if not granting relations unprotected.
The tie that binds their protector is a psychological and not material. Being grown in a rigid social environment in which the woman must always obey man, the door to consider the man who exploits as the male figure of reference and to accept its every wish. When this connection “emotional” is put into question by some girl then began physical violence.
The fact that they arrived in Italy illegally, to be undocumented, without a residence permit and be kept segregated at home in a total social isolation, it helps to maintain a condition of marginalization and dependency. Despite all the relationship with the boyfriend / exploiter continues to be perceived as a ratio of torque and for this reason sexual intercourse with him are not protected (as is the case with customers), because in this case not being worked on. This causes but often unwanted pregnancies and the use of voluntary interruption of pregnancy becomes a real method of contraception.
Since the meetings carried out by volunteers of LULE with
Albanian girls Albanians emerge some features. The Albanian girls have the youngest to 30 years and over (the share of children is very high), the majority maiden although not lacking cases of married women and children. The legal position is varied: almost all have arrived illegally in Italy, many are undocumented because they have been withdrawn from the trafficker, others have only a passport. There are also those who succeeded in obtaining permission to stay through the last amnesty. As in traditional society Albanian Issues sex is taboo many Albanian girls have a sexual health education and poor. The use of condom does not fall in their sexual culture and are educated to use it. Rarely carry out medical checks and when they do turn mainly to private doctors.