The hostile environment has resulted in a climate of disbelief where the starting point is to doubt the narratives of children and young people in the asylum system. The Albanian asylum-seeking community however face additional prejudice and disbelief.
Albania has a long history of clan violence, blood feuds and revenge killings, as well as political instability. Domestic violence, so-called ‘honour-based’ violence, gender-based violence and child-specific persecution are also significant issues. Albania is also a source country for one of the largest groups of trafficked women and children to reach the UK’s shores, and is consistently in the top 5 or 6 child asylum applicant producing countries in relation to child asylum seekers in the UK. Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children from Albania, who have been trafficked or who are fleeing threats or violence, arrive in the UK each year, destitute, exhausted and traumatised. However the government’s approach to Albanian children and young people’s asylum claims does not accord with the reality on the ground in Albania: these very vulnerable young people have a less than 0.5% chance of securing protection from the Home Office when they seek asylum in the UK.