The commendation was issued to Cela by David Sander, representative of UN Women in Albania, during a roundtable held in Tirana by UN Women and the Interior Ministry entitled “Reporting in the Media of the Phenomenon of Trafficking of Women and Girls: Problems and Recommendations”.
Cela was recognized for her story Vicious Circle: Albanian Victims Struggle to Escape Shadow of Sex Trade, published as part of the 2015 Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence programme.
The investigation highlighted the plight of Albanian women and girls trafficked and exploited as sex slaves and their struggle to rebuild their lives with little help from the state and a society that often refuses to treat them as victims.
Every year the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence awards ten journalists from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Greece, financial and professional support to conduct in-depth research into a topic of regional and EU significance.
The project, which is supported by ERSTE Foundation and the Open Society Foundations, in cooperation with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, aims to encourage regional networking among journalists and advance balanced coverage on topics that are central to the region as well as to the European Union.