Updated Home Office “Country information and guidance: female victims of trafficking, Albania, July 2016” is now available.

A quick look at the Policy Summary section suggests that the Home Office should increasingly recognise that trafficked women who are returned to Albania may face huge challenge, be extremely vulnerable and stigmatised as a result of the traditional, honour-based society.

Setting the old and updated guidance side by side makes the policy shift pretty clear:

9 September 2015 28 July 2016
Although trafficking continues to be a problem in Albania, the Albanian Government has made significant efforts in recent years to fight human trafficking and has created legislative, organisational and operational frameworks in the areas of investigation, prosecution, protection and prevention.

In general, the Albanian government government now provides effective protection for victims of trafficking. A person from Albania is unlikely to qualify for a grant of asylum or humanitarian protection on the basis of a human trafficking claim unless they can demonstrate why these arrangements would not be able to assist them.

Female victims of trafficking in Albania are members of a particular social group. However, establishing such membership will not be sufficient for recognition as a refugee. The question to be addressed in each case will be whether a particular person will face a real risk of persecution on account of their membership of such a group.

Where a claim falls to be refused, it must be considered for certification under section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 as Albania is listed as a designated state. However, the claim must be considered on its individual merits to determine whether it is clearly unfounded.

3. Policy summary

3.1.1 Albanian women who have been trafficked form a particular social group within the terms of the 1951 Refugee Convention. Whether they are at risk of persecution will depend upon their individual circumstances.

3.1.2 Albania has made great efforts to improve its response to trafficking in recent years, and there is, in general, a sufficient standard of protection available. However, this protection will nevertheless not be sufficient in every case, and each case must therefore be considered on an individual basis.

3.1.3 Much of Albanian society is governed by a strict code of honour, which means that trafficked women would have great difficulty in reintegrating into their home area and this would also affect their ability to relocate internally.

3.1.4 Re-trafficking does occur, and some women may be particularly vulnerable owing to their personal circumstances or the factors which led them to be trafficked in the first place.

3.1.5 Where a claim falls to be refused, it is likely to be certifiable under section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act, but this will not be the case for everyone, and each case must be considered on its facts.

 

Posted by Ben Amunwa

Founder and editor of Lawmostly.com. Ben is a business and public law barrister with the 36 Group. He gives expert legal advice on employment, immigration and commercial disputes to a wide range of clients.

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