Lindita Çela is an investigative reporter based in Albania, known and awarded for her uncompromising investigations into corruption scandals and organized crime, including the problem of human trafficking in Europe.

She has joined OCCRP staff since February 2019, but for more than 15 years, she has covered complex stories that have had a major impact in Albania, showing courage and determination.

In 2017, Lindita Çela was part of the group of journalists who were awarded the "Global Shining Light" award at the Global Investigative Reporting Conference 2017 in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The investigation uncovered an arms pipeline between Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East worth €1.2 billion. The weapons flow, reporters found, were being financed by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE and Turkey, and systematically diverted to extremist groups, including the Islamic State.

After the story was published, the European Union announced it would monitor the flow of weapons and several countries reviewed their policies.

She has been named winner of CEI SEEMO’s prestigious Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism in 2016 for her uncompromising investigations into corruption scandals and organized crime, including the problem of human trafficking in Europe.

Çela was recognized for her story Vicious Circle: Albanian Victims Struggle to Escape Shadow of Sex Trade, published as part of the 2015 Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence programme.

The investigation highlighted the plight of Albanian women and girls trafficked and exploited as sex slaves and their struggle to rebuild their lives with little help from the state and a society that often refuses to treat them as victims. 

She received a commendation from the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women in Albania, UN Women, for the “creation of a professional model of investigative journalism for the reporting on trafficking of women and girls”.

In addition to her contribution to exposing corruption at high levels of Albanian politics and organized crime in Albania, she has been invited to be an ancient lecturer at the University of Tirana, in the field of journalism, as well as in some trainings organized by civil society organizations. civil society in Albania. She is a participant in the most important conferences of investigative journalism but also in dozens of trainings on infestation techniques and the best reporting standards of quality journalism.

Lindita Çela

Basic information

Name
Lindita Çela
Title
Investigative reporter
Expertise
corruption, organised crime, human trafficking
Country
Albania
City
Tirana

Mentor for

Asylum Seekers in the Age of Offshoring: Shrinking Space for Human Rights Protection

  • Human Rights
  • Migration

LONDON/BERLIN/COPENHAGEN - In the not-so-distant past, the concept of offshore immigration policies, which involve shifting the responsibility of processing asylum claims to a different country, was largely associated with populist far-right ideologies.

Natasha Phang Lee

Dry To The Bone

  • Cities
  • Environment

PUGLIA - From the role of organised crime to the failings of national and European institutional oversight, this investigation on the ground raises awareness regarding the main players of the agricultural market.

Claudia Colliva & Giada Santana

Family Challenges: When Children Leave Far Away

  • Migration

BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA/MONTENEGRO/SERBIA - How parents from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia deal with the daily challenges of separation after their children leave the country. 

Hilma Unkic

Serbia Rule Change Leaves Stranded Indians at Mercy of Smugglers

  • Exploitation
  • Human Rights
  • Migration
  • Trafficking

PUNJABI - BELGRADE - India and Serbia have enjoyed visa-on-arrival policy between 2017 and 2023. Investigation revealed a nexus between Indian travel agents who would connect these migrants with donkers (human smugglers) in Serbia, who further helped them cross international borders via countries like Hungary, Romania, North Macedonia, Greece, Spain, and Italy. 

The Pains of Au Pair in Accommodation for Foreign Families

  • Exploitation
  • Human Rights
  • Migration
  • Trafficking
  • Youth

JAKARTA /AMSTERDAM - It sounded so appealing to become an Au Pair in Europe on paper. Unsurprisingly a website like AuPairWorld.com, which matches au pairs and host families, displays hundreds of profiles of young women advertising their baby-sitting skills.  

The Trap

KABUL - This investigation sheds a light on the scale of abuse Afghan women are subjected to when trying to reach Europe. Women with no documents and no money are exposed to trafficking by unscrupulous smugglers who take advantage of the situation.

Trapped by the Debt: Punjabi Workers Lured Into Trafficking and Exploited in Italy

  • Exploitation
  • Human Rights
  • Migration
  • Trafficking

LATINA - How, through debt, a network of intermediaries linking India to the Pontine countryside keeps thousands of Indian workers under blackmail, exploited in one of the largest fruit and vegetable districts in Europe.