An Albanian activist, Vera Lesko, since she initially started her fight against human trafficking in Albania 1997, has received loads of threats and even she was beaten. As result her family has also suffered, but despite this she continues to fight human trafficking in Albania.
Albania is considered to be a major source or transit country for illegal human trafficking, especially the trafficking of women, since the collapse of communism in the beginning of 1990s.
Back in 1999 she opened The Hearth Psycho-Social Centre, first of its kind in Albania to help human trafficking victims. Later this organization opened Albania’s first refuge centre to help trafficked Albanian women and girls.
The USAID (United States Agency for International Development) estimates that until now Lesko’s and this organization’s efforts have saved more than 1,600 trafficked girls and women.
This year, Lesko and a Greek Major, George Vanikiotis, are being recognized by the U.S Department of State for their significant work in the fight against human trafficking.