Information about the country: Albania (Albanian: Shqipëri/Shqipëria) is a country in Southeastern Europe on the Balkan peninsula.
Human Rights 2015: an overview by Amnesty International
HIV/AIDS rates: There are 820 cumulative HIV cases registered through HIV/AIDS surveillance system from 1993 (the year of the first detected HIV case in Albania) until 2015.
HIV prevalence among sex workers: Almost 0%: 2-3 sex workers have HIV according to the latest data of Public Health Institute
Legal situation around sex work: Sex work is illegal and criminalized: The Penalty Code punishes provision of sexual services for money with a fine or up to 3 years of imprisonment.
Buying sex is criminalized in some cases, but there are no sanctions against sex workers' clients.
The Penalty Code also punishes the following crimes:
- coercion into prostitution and exploiting individuals with the aim of sex work by third parties – up to 5 years of imprisonment, and up to 15 years of imprisonment in case there are aggravating circumstances for sex work;
- maintaining or giving for rent bars, clubs or other environments – up to 10 years of imprisonment;
- any kind of pornography – a fine or up to 2 years of imprisonment. If an underaged is involved – 1 to 5 years of imprisonment;
- renting an apartment or hotel for sex work related activities is punished with up to 5 years of imprisonment.
Services for sex workers: There exist social and psychological support, dissemination of condoms and other supply, training, legal support, Methadone Maintenance Therapy Treatment for those who are using drugs. These services are sponsored by the Global Fund, SWAN and UNFPA.
The Global Fund is present in the country with transitional funds until the new application.
Sex workers’ movement: There is “Pink Embassy” and “Useful to Albanian Women” that among other vulnerable groups support LGBT.
This article is taken from the website of the Media Diversity Institute.
The easiest way to get rid of the human suffering inherent in sex trafficking is to recognize the world's oldest profession and legalize it, according to some Albanian legal authorities.
In one American state, Nevada, the home of Las Vegas, prostitution is legal in state inspected brothels. Amsterdam has long been known for its Red Light district featuring the famous girls in the picture windows displaying their bodies for sale.
Could legalization work in Albania…again? More
Aksion Plus, the SWAN member from Albania, has recently engaged one of its clients, a Methadone-using sex worker, in an outreach program towards sex workers in marginalized groups. At the moment it is a needs assessment, prior to launching harm reduction services (including Methadone treatment), peer and health education, distribution of condoms, and referral to other services for sex workers.
Albania is a recipient of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) support, and Aksion Plus plans to start implementing GFATM by the end of this year.
Street sex workers, especially in Roma and transgender communities, are often harassed by the police, practice unsafe sex in parks, under bridges and in other unhygienic venues. This small outreach project has more ambitious plans in the future. In the presence of the law that prosecutes sex workers, Aksion Plus is striving to at least support them by providing basic life-saving services. So far NGOs have been focused on trafficking, shelters for deported sex workers and similar. No services were available to active sex workers in Albania. Aksion Plus started similar activities with drug users in 2000 when the law was against harm reduction, but with a special agreement with the Ministry of Interior managed to launch a very successful program.
Contact person: Genci Mucollari, Aksion Plus, Albania