Story 4: The KLA's top officials control the sex trafficking industry, with support from the West's top officials.
(Absolutely worth reading in its entirety, though a lot of it's written here)
"The big guys don't take a cut in the business, they run it," said the man, who gave his name as Luan and acknowledged that he previously made his living from trafficking women and girls into Kosovo against their will so they could have sex with paying customers. "The system is highly organized and there's no police or anything to stop it. Everything is corruption from top to bottom." In the aftermath of the US-led war in Kosovo in 1999, this nascent democracy ... has become a hub of global trade in human beings... this industry, which operates in the shadowy underworld where former members of armed militias have turned turned into muderous enforcers in a criminal enterprise, nets an estimaged $32 billion globally every year... [is considered] to be the fastest growing criminal activity in the world.
...Their statements combined with several intelligence sources reports and findings of ongoing investigations in Kosovo reveal how the syndicate that carries out this trafficking does so with the complicity--and in some cases direct involvement--of the very highest levels of Kosovo's political leadership. The United States and its NATO allies, and the United Nations have publicly said for years that corrupt officials within Kosovo's government and police have at times taken part in the illegal trade of women and girls for sex.
...foreign trafficking victims often arrive in Kosovo with valid documents and employment contracts stamped by Kosovo officials who may be aware that the document holders are trafficking victims.
But the privately discussed rumors... are much worse: the corruption goes low level officials, all the way to high level politicians. No senior Kosovar official has ever been charged in relation to human trafficking in Kosovo... during the course of a wider investigation into allegations of broad criminality by former senior Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) commanders and their ties to the United States and other Western countries, interviewed three men involved in sex trafficking in Kosovo... all three men insisted that some senior political figures, specifically former KLA commanders, were indeed involved in the trafficking of women and girls. [Reports from NATO/intelligence services] say, senior former KLA commanders have been involved in the sex slavery business.
Further bolstering claims, various well-informed people, including a NATO intelligence official who worked in Kosovo and a Western diplomat with experience in the region, all say that it has been common knowledge in America, NATO, and UN circles that former guerilla commanders--many of them now in positions of great power in Kosovo--are believed to be linked to sex trafficking. Luan said that officials in the parties of two former KLA commanders [Gashi/Thaci, Bukosi/Berisha] are closely tied up in the trade.
"The whole thing, as well as any other illegal business, is controlled by the state both in Kosovo, Albania, and all of former Yugoslavia... no one can [smuggle drugs, women, cigarettes, or anything without blessing from above. I mean, you can try, but you'll be found in a ditch somewhere after many days already half-eaten by worms and dogs, which has happened to some."
Intelligence reports finger Thaci: NATO intelligence reports... Western intelligence reports... links Thaci and other former KLA commanders to a broad array of criminal activities.... close associate of Thaci is involved in sex trafficking: Prostitution: arrival of women mostly from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, and Slovakia is under [redacted, strangely] indirect control and receives its profit.
NATO official added, "A lot of women entered Kosovo without any hurdle. The people behind the brothels and sex slavery were all with the government, [Kosovo Protection Corps, the PDK, and the AAK. No one outside these structures had even a remote chance to run it on such a large scale.
In spite of criticism and people knowing about this, Thaci has received strong support from the United States. He visited VP Joe Biden at the White House in July and has hosted Sec of State Clinton in Kosovo.
Describing himself as the "Balkan version of DHL and Fed Ex" for trafficked women and illicit goods, the second Albanian trafficker, who gave his name as Gjon, said he had worked for and with Kosovar organized crime groups headed by former senior KLA commanders. During the 1999 war, in which KLA blessed Albania, its intelligence service, SHIK, was involved in sex trafficking. Groups of trafficked women were arriving in Durres and Fushe Kruja that were almost exclusively for the KLA, who were there during and after the war... in spite of his pride fighting with the KLA during the war he still acknowledged that SHIK and former KLA officials were involved in the sex trafficking trade. Is the KLA involved? Are you kidding me? It's all the KLA or those who contributed to the war. All the big money flows are directly controlled by SHIK and without their blessing you better not start anything if you mean well to yourself and your family.
Global post made repeated attempts to interview the American ambassador to Kosovo, Chris Dell, about US relations with senior former KLA figures and allegations of criminality, but he declined to accept interview requests. State Dept officials declined, as did Thaci.
Catering to the expat community: All three (trafficking) men said that NATO troops, UN officials, and other internationals working in Kosovo made up a large portion of the clientele for trafficked women, something repeatedly confirmed by anti-trafficking organizations.
To meet that demand, the three men and their colleagues in the organized crime world looked beyond Kosovo's borders. We were mostly bringing in girls from Moldova, Ukraine, and Russia. But sometimes we also had girls from Serbia, Romania, Czech Republic.
[Note: Why are girls from Serbia and the Czech Republic, where the European Children's Trust had no presence? Well, The US was involved in Serbia and the Czech Republic during the Bosnian war and Europe wasn't. Hence, the American charities, like Save the Children, brought them in from these former Yugoslavian nations. Additionally, remember that the US was behind president Berisha, who had a different trafficking operation with the Southern Italian mafia through the coastal port of Vlore. It's possible that he had the corner on this market].]