Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Tatsushi Arai


Located on the Balkan Peninsula, Albania is a small country of roughly 3.3 million people. Because of a prolonged history of communist isolation, Albania remains firmly rooted to the traditions of the past. Widespread poverty and weak physical and political infrastructure have delayed development efforts. Traditional mentalities are confronted by a growing international influence on a daily basis. Modern problems, like human trafficking, are difficult to address because of taboos around sex and shame. Victims of trafficking are stigmatized and discriminated against by society, their communities, and their families. Stigmatization presents a huge obstacle in the reintegration process, as former victims of trafficking try to move forward with their lives. The perpetuation of stigma is fostered by a culture where shame and a low status of women are culture norms. This study looks at the dynamic relationship between shame and the stigmatization of returning Albanian victims of trafficking. Workers in the field of anti-trafficking in Albania report that shame is the biggest obstruction to reintegration. Stigmatization of victims of trafficking is committed by families, communities and in society, most often among potential employers, landlords, and service providers. In the case of Albania, stigmatization frequently occurs due to the anticipation of shame from the larger family or the community. Recommended programming includes educational workshops with the younger generation, in communities in the deep North, and educational programming on television.


Eastern European Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences