Albania launches #WEARE1 – the National Movement against child sexual violence and exploitation

Albania launches #WEARE1 – the National Movement against child sexual violence and exploitation

Under the patronage of the President of Albania, CRCA/ECPAT Albania launched a new national movement aiming at protecting children and young people from sexual violence and exploitation!

Tirana, 23 July 2020 - CRCA/ECPAT Albania and Barnahus Albania, under the patronage and with the participation and of the President of Albania, Mr. Ilir Meta, launched today in the Green Garden of the Presidency, the establishment of the National Movement # WEARE1 - together against child sexual violence in Albania. The event was welcomed and attended by representatives of public institutions, embassies, civil society and the media.

Violence and sexual exploitation of children has become the most worrying phenomenon in Albania. This phenomenon affects not only the victims and their families, but also the communities where we live. No more than a month ago, the case of a 15-year-old girl sexually exploited by a guard of a public school, shocked the public opinion. It rang the alarm bell for the schools, communities, the institutions, but also the CSOs. It showed how organized sexual predators are and how unprepared we as a society were to respond to this phenomenon, both locally and globally.

Data show that 1 in 10 children are victims of violence and sexual harassment in Albania. Child violence and sexual exploitation increases not only by the behaviour of sexual predators, but also by social prejudices, a weak child protection system, taboos on sex and gender stereotypes.

In an opening ceremony, the President of Albania underlined that: “Violence and sexual exploitation of children are the most serious form of abuse that occurs in Albania! It has short-term and long-term consequences. We must take urgent measures to prevent violence, such as the implementation of the National Register of Sexual Crimes, strengthening of Albanian criminal legislation and drafting a new Law on the Protection of Children on the Internet, etc."

The National Movement # WEARE1 (#NEJEMI1), aims to fight for the elimination of sexual violence against children. It seeks to improve and strengthen the mechanisms of child protection and social services in support of them. It seeks to address the challenges and shortcomings in protecting children from violence and sexual exploitation throughout Albania, by engaging citizens, parents, teachers, educators, artists, public officials, civil society, youth and children themselves, to denounce any act violence or sexual exploitation of children, as well as working with the authorities to take measures to protect, care for and raise awareness of children and the family from the consequences of violence. It also includes improving child protection policies and the legal frameworks, strengthening child protection mechanisms, and improving their protection services, as well as organizing information and awareness campaigns and strengthening communication and cooperation between institutions and civil society.

The Director of CRCA Albania, Altin Hazizaj at the start of the event underlined that “# WEARE1, request to liberate the entire Albanian society from the stereotypes that do not allow girls and boys to be equal. This nationwide movement aims to eliminate prejudices about sexuality that turns girls into objects of attack, control and power by men and boys. It is time to say #WEARE1 together against child violence and sexual exploitation in Albania!”

The establishment of the National Movement was driven by the increase in cases of sexual violence and exploitation against children. In just one year, 67 children and adolescents have been raped, harassed, and sexually exploited.

Sexual violence is one of the worst forms of violation of the rights of the child. It demonstrates in the form of sexual abuse, rape, sexual harassment, exploitation of children for prostitution or pornography and abuse in everyday and virtual life, such as "grooming", "sexting" etc. These crimes seriously violate human rights, causing serious consequences for the health and well-being of the child.

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