Tirana, August 4, 2022 – The International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) in cooperation with the State Police and CRCA/ECPAT Albania, with the support of the American Embassy Albania, held this morning the Round Table: “Implementation of the Amber Signal in Albania.”
According to the sources of the National Police Authority, Albania currently counts 94 missing children: 12 children under the age of 14, and another 82 belonging to the age group 14-18 years old. The data was made public during the discussions at the roundtable held this morning, where ICMEC presented the beginning of the work for the implementation of the Amber Alert in Albania, including the protocols for the operation of the system at the Albanian National Police Authority.
Representatives of the Police considered the establishment of the Amber Alert very important for their work. They stated that so far 80 police officers have been trained and 15 child-interviewing centers have been set up across police stations in Albania, based on European standards to fight against violence and exploitation of children. The police recognised the fact that to implement Amber Alert further training of law enforcement officers is required.
CRCA/ECPAT Albania Director, Altin Hazizaj, underlined that: “Today we mark a historic day! We have been advocating for the implementation of the Amber Signal for 12 years. In 2010, together with ICMEC / GMCN, we set out to establish a system that would protect missing, exploited or trafficked children. After setting up the National Center for Missing Children, Missing Children Helpline (116-000) together with ALO 116, just 10 days ago we finalized our initiative to set up the National Registry of Sex Offenders. Now it’s the time to establish Amber Alert, thanks to ICMEC, Police Authority and the extraordinary support of the USA Embassy in Tirana.”
Albania continues to be ranked among the countries with serious problems of protecting children from violence, exploitation and trafficking for sexual purposes. The most recent report on the state of children’s rights in Albania, of CRCA/ECPAT Albania, raises serious doubts about the counties efforts to protect children’s rights, emphasizing the fundamental lack of free child social services and support.
The Amber alert was established in 1996 in the USA, after Amber – a 9-year-old girl was kidnapped and then found murdered in Texas. The story of Amber woke up the American society, institutions and legislators, who together decided to establish the Amber alert, whenever a missing child is thought to be in danger of life or to be exploited.
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