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New hotline number and smartphone app make reporting trafficking possible for more Albanians

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Johnny Cruz

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Tirana, ALBANIA (June 16, 2014) — Albanians now have the power to quickly, easily and anonymously report suspected cases of trafficking, the illegal trading of human beings for forced labor or commercial sex work. Starting today, Albanians can report human trafficking from any mobile phone or landline for free using a new national hotline number and can use a new Android smartphone application to quickly report suspected trafficking and locate services for trafficking victims.

“Today, this application marks a development that unites Albania with other developed countries through this unique hotline and mobile app, known internationally as a means to respond to cases of trafficking," said Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama this morning. He spoke at the launch of the new national hotline number and app during a conference organized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs/National Coordinator Office for Anti Trafficking, World Vision Albania and the Vodafone Albania Foundation.

The Government of Albania’s previous national anti-trafficking hotline could not be dialed with a mobile phone. While almost all Albanians have access to a mobile phone, less than 15 percent have landlines, resulting in the old hotline number largely going unused. To change this, World Vision, Vodafone, and the Government of Albania worked together to identify a new pan-European six digit short code — 116 006. The new number is free of charge and can be used from any phone — mobile or landline. Trafficking reports from the hotline and app (which has the new number built into it) go directly to the operative office in the General Police Department, who will immediately send officers to respond per Albania's Standard Operating Procedures put in place to combat trafficking in 2011.

The new Android smartphone app called “Raporto! Shpeto” (Report! Save!) was developed through the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and NetHope. It can be downloaded for free from the Google Play store and contains the following features:

  • Hotline direct dial: Calls the free national anti-trafficking hotline directly for free.
  • Map to services: Displays a map showing services for victims (shelters, hospitals, etc.) nearest the user's location.
  • Services database: Displays the same information as the map in a list form for users who don't have GPS-enabled phones or are looking for a particular type of service.
  • Report trafficking: Allows the user to report suspected trafficking to the authorities directly via SMS/text and email.
  • Knowledge center: Provides up-to-date information about the problem of human trafficking in Albania and how to identify and prevent human trafficking.

Other speakers at the launch of the new national hotline number and app included U.S. Ambassador Alexander Arvizu, Acting Head of the European Union Delegation to Albania Clive Rumbold, and the Albanian Minister of the Interior Saimir Tahiri.

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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/press or on Twitter @WorldVisionNews.

About NetHope:
NetHope, Inc., is a consortium of more than 40 leading humanitarian organizations. NetHope collaborates with consortium members and facilitates public-private partnerships with major technology companies to leverage technology investments and better serve aid beneficiaries. World Vision is a member of NetHope. USAID funds NetHope's Combating of Trafficking in Persons (cTIP) Program and the Global Broadband and Innovations (GBI) Alliance. The cTIP Program falls under the GBI. For more information, please visit http://nethope.org/programs/global-broadband-and-innovations/.

About USAID:
USAID is a leading U.S. Government agency responsible for U.S. foreign development assistance. USAID works in approximately 100 countries around the world delivering humanitarian assistance, supporting social sector improvements, and facilitating economic development. USAID funds NetHope's cTIP Program. For more information, please visit www.USAID.gov.