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OSCE organizes first ever hackathon against human trafficking in Albania

Thirty representatives from state institutions and civil society organizations engaged in the first hackathon against trafficking in human beings in Albania – a learning-by-doing training where they worked together to detect online human trafficking and child sexual exploitation, on 6 and 7 February 2024. The event was organized by the OSCE Presence in Albania in co-operation with the Office of the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings.

Guided by international experts, mentors in information technology and cyber security, the participants coming from police, social services, the National Authority on Electronic Certification and Cyber Security (AKCESK) and civil society organizations engaged in developing tools to detect online trafficking and sexual exploitation.

“Technology can also be developed and deployed to help combat human trafficking in the online environment. That is why we have to see opportunities beyond challenges and this is exactly the scope of this innovative training”, said Clarisse Pasztory, Acting Head of the OSCE Presence in Albania, who addressed the opening session alongside AKCESK director Igli Tafa.

The goal of the hackathon was to increase awareness of the ways in which technology is misused in Albania to exploit victims, especially children. It also aimed to identify platforms and websites that are particularly exposed to human trafficking risks and to provide insight into how traffickers exploit them.

In addition, the hackathon served to build a network of expertise to address technology-facilitated human trafficking, by employing a “learning-by-doing” methodology, prioritizing the learning process over theory, and testing participants knowledge and capacities in a live online environment to detect websites and social media platforms that recruit victims for sexual exploitation.