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.

Mary Ward Loreto Latest Happenings

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Mary Ward Loreto Women’s Project in Tropoja had an awarenes session for the youth in “Matosh Uka” school, in Dushaj on Thursday October 18th, The European Day Against Trafficking in Human Beings.

45 high school students attended the training and they were a very dynamic group, discussing trafficking in human beings and participating in interactive exercise on how to identify traffickers and potential victims of trafficking. They shared examples and enjoyed this opportunity for learning.



“Changing minds, supporting victims- this is where Religious Sisters make the difference,” thus began the introduction to the evening as Ambassador Axworthy welcomed her guests. Ms. Axworthy ‘s fulsome acknowledgement of the work of female Religious and specifically Sr. Imelda Poole, was shared and appreciated by all present.

Ambassadors from Brazil, Canada, the Ivory Coast, Japan, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Serbia and the US, Religious, friends, family, colleagues and co-workers working to combat human trafficking and exploitation, gathered at the residence of H.E. Ms. Sally Axworthy, Ambassador to the Holy See, on Tuesday evening, 25 September, 2018, to honour Imelda Poole, IBVM, on being awarded an MBE for her work to combat and prevent human trafficking.

Sr. Imelda shared about her work to combat Human Trafficking over the past 14 years and of the extent to which so much can be achieved through collaboration and partnerships. Citing a number of examples of cases where victims gradually overcame their ordeals at the hands of traffickers, Imelda urged continued and sustained support for the work which can transform the lives of the most vulnerable.

On behalf of the guests, Sr. Bernadette Boland, IBVM, Conf. Of  Religious, expressed gratitude to H.E. Mrs. Axworthy, for so generously acknowledging the work and for hosting such a beautiful and very special event.

The official MBE Award ceremony takes place at Buckingham Palace in November, 2018.








On the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, 30th of July 2018, the URAT network together with the office of the National Coordinator for Combatting Human Trafficking  and Bridges, a network of organisations dedicated to the fight against trafficking in human beings, brought the UN Giftbox to Albania, for the 3rd year running. The UN Giftbox is a global initiative of the United Nations in the fight against human trafficking.

The campaign took place at Lancua, in Vlora, with the participation of Minister Rovena Voda, National Co-ordinator of the fight against trafficking. Also present were Mr. Artemis Dralo, Deputy Prime Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, as well as representatives of the URAT network, local anti-trafficking institutions and national and international organisations.

The Giftbox information was translated into Albanian language by the URAT network in Albania, in order to expose fraudulent promises used by traffickers of human beings, as well as exposing the inhumane conditions of trafficking and its consequences. A unique and eye-catching feature of the campaign is the life-sized Giftbox itself, which effectively draws attention and informs the public.

The overall purpose of the campaign is to sensitize people to the risks of trafficking, help vulnerable communities protect themselves from traffickers, and help survivors of trafficking receive the necessary information for re-integration into society.

The Giftbox campaign ran for three days in Vlora, from July 30th to August 1st from 18:00-23:00 daily. On the second day of the Campaign,  two victims of human trafficking were rescued thanks to the direct work of #vatra and 873 people signed the statement #thuajjotrafikimit#Joinedaproach#Bashkemundemi #unitedresponseagainsttrafficking

Overall, this year’s campaign was another fantastic success, thanks to the collaboration and cooperation of each of the agencies who work so hard together toward achieving the common goal of combatting human trafficking and exploitation.

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Mary Ward Loreto has been part of a programme developed by ICITAP who arranged a training on Sex Crimes Investigation in the USA for a group of representatives of Albanian State Police, a social worker, and a psychologist. Arveda Baholli, a social worker of MWL Women ACT Center, attended the training. She was part of the expert team who developed a course on a “Victim-Centered Multi-Agency Approach to the Investigation and Management of Sex Crime” at the Albanian State Police Security Academy, sharing the knowledge and good practices with students – future police officers.

The topics covered by MWL were “the role of the social worker in addressing the victim’s needs and supporting the police work” and “social services for victims of sexual assault”. On the last day of the course, a short session on “Stress Management” was presented by the social worker and another psychologist of the group.

An English police representative was part of the team as well, who introduced the British Police methodology. This training course had an inter-institutional approach, focusing on the victim, management, and investigation of sex crimes. The outline of the 2 sessions included presentations, group discussions, and small group planning.

During the 5-day course, all trainers gave positive inputs and showed a willingness to achieve best practices. According to evaluation of the training, it was found to be very helpful and valuable for the daily work of the investigators.

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