Albanian Girls Trafficked For Sex

With Mariana trapped in Italy, back in Albania tragedy was striking the Lleshi family once again. Mariana's 17-year-old sister was also kidnapped, and this time a third sister, Marta, told police who did it. Shortly after that, her father says, Marta was brutally killed. Her dismembered body was found in a bag by the river. The killers have not been caught.

Auctioned Off Like Slaves

A private shelter in the Albanian capital houses a group of girls and young women who have managed to escape their captors. One young woman, Elizaveta, says as she was sold from one criminal syndicate to another, she was auctioned off like an animal for prospective buyers:

"The clients would come to the house and the owner would tell us to undress, to put on some makeup and to just let the clients see us to see that we didn't have any tattoos or marks. We were in our underwear or completely naked. Then after a few days they would come back to either buy girls or not."

Ali defines it as slavery. "[When] it's forced, and you're not earning any income from your labor, and you're being sold from one trafficker to another, yes, I would classify it as slavery. I think it has all the elements to classify it as slavery."

Corruption Runs Deep

How Albania became a source for prostitution has a lot to do with its history. For 46 years, Albania was a strict communist state, almost completely cut off from the outside world. Its leader, Enver Hoxhe, was so paranoid of subversive forces both inside and outside the country he broke off almost all relations with the outside world including China and the Soviet Union.

When the communist era came crashing down in 1991, the people of Albania were left with almost nothing. Organized crime quickly rushed in to fill the vacuum and the Albanian mafia quickly developed a reputation as a ruthless smuggler of weapons, drugs and women.

"I think the Italian mafia did an excellent job of teacher training for the Albanian mafia, and they became very powerful very quickly," says Mosko. "Trafficking for prostitution is the easiest trafficking to do because there's no investment involved.

"It's just cheap," she adds. "You don't have to buy drugs, you don't have to buy guns. You just kidnap girls."

And you pay off the judges, the politicians and the police. In the first three months of this year more than 50 Albanian police officers were thrown off the force for taking bribes from the mafia. Some are even directly involved in trafficking.

The corruption runs deep, as the police are even known to sell the girls who fall into their hands.

"I have to sadly admit there have also been policemen who are corrupted and who have been involved in this kind of trafficking," says Ilir Gjoni, the Albanian Minister of Public Order. "They are part of the criminal society."

Today, the Albanian and Italian police patrol the Adriatic Sea together. Occasionally, they arrest some of the traffickers but that is of no solace to the families of the Albanian countryside who mourn the loss of their daughters and pray they will see them again.

ABCNEWS' Andrew Morse contributed to this report.

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