U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Bulgaria
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||14 June 2004|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Bulgaria, 14 June 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d8075.html [accessed 31 May 2016]|
Bulgaria (Tier 2)
Bulgaria is a transit country, and to a lesser extent, a country of origin and destination for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Bulgarian victims are trafficked to 12 countries across Western, Southern, and Eastern Europe. Women and girls of the Roma minority continue to be disproportionately represented among Bulgarian-origin victims. Victims are trafficked to Bulgaria from Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Russia, and Uzbekistan.
The Government of Bulgaria does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government passed the Law on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, which criminalizes trafficking and provides comprehensive victim assistance. The government should vigorously implement the new legislation, and strengthen its efforts on prevention.
New anti-trafficking legislation criminalizes all forms of trafficking in persons and fulfills international obligations. Potential prison sentences range from 5 to 15 years and property may be confiscated. The courts sentenced one person to 12 years' imprisonment for acts relating to trafficking. The government reported six prosecutions against 13 defendants under the new legislation. The Anti-Trafficking Task Force headed by the Ministry of Interior's National Service for Combating Organized Crime (NSBOP) gathers intelligence on trafficking. Official corruption impedes Bulgaria's efforts, and the Prosecutor's Office launched 399 investigations against police officers, resulting in indictments against two officers for human trafficking charges, three for rape, and one for forced prostitution. The government assigned nine criminal liaison officers to destination countries. Although joint investigations were conducted, no information was available to confirm any resulting prosecutions.
NGOs continued to provide the bulk of victim assistance in Bulgaria. With a grant from Germany, the State Agency for Child Protection cooperated with the IOM to train local experts and to monitor the reintegration and provision of services for child trafficking victims. In early 2004, the government passed regulations authorizing the establishment of shelters and centers for victims' assistance and protection. The Ministry of Interior identified 104 trafficking victims in 2003, and referred 86 of them to IOM. The new law provides foreign victims with the possibility of special residency status if they are willing to cooperate with police. Witnesses may remain in Bulgaria as long as their assistance is required and are provided with access to government work and education programs. Victims unwilling to cooperate may remain in country for 40 days, with the possibility of extension for children. The government has not provided information as to implementation of these provisions.
The government implemented numerous training sessions for law enforcement personnel and the media throughout 2003. As part of the Employment Protection Act, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy implemented projects to address unemployment among at-risk populations for trafficking. The National Committee is intended to implement and coordinate activities between state bodies, local authorities and NGOs; however, the government provided no reports on its activities.