KOSOVO - In Kosovo a well organized trafficking network has started a big wave of minors who leave for Italy. Thanks to the Zampa law, which was introduced in 2017, they can get licenses to study or to work, if they report themselves at the Italian immigration services. The law was meant to decrease the number of missing unaccompanied migrant children, but it helps human smuggling in hand. "It's a company of 100.000 euros a month, but no one seems to care", says the prosecutor in Triëste.

"Young boys leave Kosovo on purpose before they turn 18, so they have the right to the documents which allow them to stay in Italy. A lot of the adolescents come from Malisheva'', tells Liridon (19), who uses a nickname because he wants to stay anonymous. He made the journey towards Italy himself. The boys often travel in small groups with one adult. Every time they travel with 6 to 8 persons to the North towards Serbia or Bosnia and Herzegovina. In every country they change cars. The trafficker changes to. Often from a Serbian in Serbia, to a Bosnian in Bosnia, and so on. They pass the border by foot. During the journey the boys are kept quiet by bringing them fear. "If you don't walk, I'll leave you behind. You will get lost". Or "Do not talk to each other, it will get you in danger".

The journey cost between 3.500 and 4.500 euros. The boys all have similar stories. Liridon comes from a small village. He is smart and finished high school. Liridon and his family worked on the countryside. "My brothers studied at the university. That is expensive. But it is the only way to get a job in Kosovo". Liridon also wanted to study, but it was too expensive for his family, so he decided to go to Italy to work and to help his brothers. "My father and I worked two years to pay for the journey, in the end we sold our tractor and a cow".

Photocredit: Cecilia Ferrara, Lost in Europe

Team members

Geesje van Haren

Geesje van Haren is a Dutch journalist, who has run her own media organization VersPers for over 16 years.

Geesje van Haren

Cecilia Ferrara

Cecilia Ferrara is a journalist based in Rome, former member and founder of the Investigative Reporting Project Italy and contributor of Radio Bullets.

Cecilia Ferrara

Ismail Einashe

Ismail Einashe is an award-winning journalist and writer who has written for BBC News, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, The Sunday Times and The Nation, among many others.

Ismail Einashe
A grant of EUR 7.000 allocated on 29/10/2019

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