Story of ‘Deni’, a victim of trafficking, and the intervention of Initiative for Social Change ARSIS

Cooperation between the municipalities of Shkoder and Tirana, the social services and the Initiative ARSIS enabled a young victim of exploitation for profit to be identified and cared for. ‘Deni’ Xh. (name changed to protect his identity) has been receiving all the necessary assistance for his integration back into society.

The case of the Deni, a minor from Shkodra, one of the victims of exploitation on the streets of Albania’s cities, was first identified by Tirana Municipality field teams. Malnourished and with signs of physical abuse, D. was taken into the immediate care of the Safe Emergency Shelter Service where he received the required support services: housing, shelter, health care, food, clothing and, most importantly, psychological support.

Initiative ARSIS has worked closely with him and his family, in collaboration with the child protection structures in the municipalities of Tirana and Shkodra, to ensure proper treatment, management and full integration of D. back into society.

After complete support regarding hygiene, health care and psychological service, the child was returned safely to his family. Fourteen-year-old Deni says “I wanted to remain close to those people who are protecting me and who understand me. I thought they were protecting me but they tried to take advantage of me all the time.”

Deni’s family was assisted by Initiative ARSIS with the support of basic services. He was brought back to school with the help of child protection structures. Social worker Kristjana Bashaj says, “In the management of this boy many actors were involved, whose approach in the centre helped him feel the necessary security and belief that he would make it.”

Continuous contacts are established with the child and the family in order to recognize his needs and to resolve problems that occur during reintegration. Deni maintains contacts with the organization’s psychologist for the treatment of the traumas he has experienced. He says, “Now I understand and know my rights. I know I am a child; I have to go to school, and I don’t have to work on the streets”.

Cooperation between child protection structures and organizations in the care of children in street situations is seen as a promising model for preventing the risk of trafficking. The goal of Initiative ARSIS, with the help of UNICEF Albania, is to further reinforce the child protection system by creating a coordination network for the prevention and care of all cases of children at risk of trafficking.