Executive Director, Vatra
Brikena Puka is an expert and trainer with 18 years of experience in anti-trafficking issues. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Vatra Psycho-Social Centre, an Albanian non-profit organization that provides services and expertise for the prevention and protection of victims of trafficking and gender-based violence. Mrs. Puka also serves as the legal representative of the organization. In this role, she is responsible for the management of the organization’s activities, including increasing its quality services potentialities and strengthening the capacities of anti- trafficking stakeholders on the identification, referral and protection of victims of trafficking. She ensures and sustains close cooperation with the local, national and international institutions to lobby and advocate for trafficking and gender-based violence victims.
From its start in 1997, Vatra Center has been an active actor in the anti-trafficking efforts in Albania. In 2001, Vatra established the first shelter in Albania that provides long-term reintegration services for victims of trafficking from around the country. Vatra is a member of the National Anti-trafficking Coalition Shelters and a member (on rotating basis) of the Responsible Anti-trafficking Authority. As a permanent member of the National Referral Mechanism, Vatra Center – led by Mrs. Puka – contributes to the implementation of this Mechanism and monitors the implementation of the Albania’s National Anti-trafficking Strategies and National Action Plans. Her work has been awarded by different international institutions, such as the U.S. State Department, Antislavery International, and the Albanian Government.