Medaille Trust is pleased to announce the appointment of our first Albania Country Manager.
The appointment of Ana Stakaj as our Country Manager in Albania is part of our initiatives in Albania to prevent people falling victim to ruthless criminals who traffick and exploit them in the UK. Earlier this year, we announced that an enterprise that buys, dries, and markets fruits and vegetables from poor farmers will soon be able to expand its business with an investment from our Albanian Entrepreneurship Academy.
The Academy is a partnership between Medaille Trust, Ethical Good, and nine NGOs. With the business expansion, the hope is that more jobs will be created for Albanians, and they will be less tempted by traffickers. Albania has been the number one source country for victims of modern slavery coming to the UK for many years. One in four people referred for support as potential victims of modern slavery in the UK are from Albania. Last year, referrals for Albanians doubled from 1,876 in the year to June 2021 to 3,571 in the year to June 2022.
Ana Stakaj brings to her new role more than a decade of experience working with our partner organisation in Albania, Mary Ward Loreto Foundation, to combat trafficking. Speaking about her appointment, Ms Stakaj said: "As a new member of the Medaille Trust family, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to serve a charity I've known and collaborated closely with for over a decade. It's an honour to represent them in Albania, working tirelessly to combat human trafficking and modern slavery, a cause I am deeply passionate about."
Medaille's CEO Garry Smith said: "Ana's appointment demonstrates our commitment to ensuring maximum coordination and a proactive approach to our prevention initiatives in Albania. We must work upstream to prevent people from being trafficked for criminal exploitation.
We must increase the prosecution of traffickers through increased cooperation between law enforcement agencies in Albania and the UK. We also need to ensure there is coordination of support for victims of modern slavery who may now be returned to Albania following new government rules. Ana's appointment will help us to better cordinate and deliver on these objectives and we welcome her on board."