Albania Mission Against
Human Trafficking

MARY WARD LORETO is planting hope with a human rights approach to combating modern day slavery. This challenging mission is implemented through works of justice, education, grass roots action and systemic change. The aim is to eradicate poverty, the prime cause for human trafficking.

Elsa has been trafficked for two years, from the age of nineteen to twenty one years old. She was pregnant and her boyfriend seemed to be happy with the fact that he was going to be a future father. She totally believed him, and planned together to go to Italy to deliver the baby there. Her family never knew her boyfriend, since they thought she had to break up with him and have an abortion.

Elsa was very happy during their first week in Italy. One day her boyfriend called her and told her that a friend of his was going to pick her up and they would all meet together at a restaurant for dinner, so she had to put on a nice dress. This supposed friend appeared at her door and said that he would wait for her at the car. While he was driving, she realized that he was taking the wrong direction. When Elsa told him this, he said: “Your boyfriend told me to take care of you, same as other girls”. That was the moment she realised she has been sold to a trafficker. She tried to get out of the car but it was impossible as he hit her with a gun and she became unconscious.

She woke up three days later and realised that the traffickers had given her drugs and had paid somebody to kill the child in her womb. The trafficker then told her that she was ready to work and asked for some appropriate clothes. That day she had her first client who used to be very violent to her. The next clients were violent too. Elsa says that she and other girls have been tortured, that when a client complained about her, she was not given food for two or three days and when she was ill they put her in a small room and left her there until she recovered naturally.

Elsa speaks Italian and used to beg for help to one client who felt sorry for her and planned an escape for her. It was not easy because he didn’t want to be discovered, and this took three months. One day as he was leaving, he let the door open so she could run out. While running in the street, she got into the back of a van without anybody noticing her. When the van stopped she ran outside and continued running, regardless of not knowing any direction. She had high shoes on, but she didn’t mind about the wounds in her feet. She was so frightened that she dare not stop for even a few seconds just to take off the shoes. By the end of the day, she lay in the park exhausted, where two girls who were passing by approached her and asked if she needed help. Elsa asked them to let her call the police, which they did. They brought her some food, gave her a scarf to cover her and went away.

Elsa is constantly in touch with her family who apologized to her for not supporting her during her pregnancy, but she knows that they could never imagine that this was going to happen to her. Elsa got her freedom, has a job, has her family, and she is happy. She has shown that she is a very strong girl.