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Bulgaria

  • 1. GENERAL INFORMATION

    Bulgaria is mainly a country of origin and transit and to a lesser extent a destination for victims of human trafficking. The unfavorable economic situation in the country continues to stimulate the migration of potential and actual victims of human trafficking in the EU and the non-European countries. The main countries of destination for exploitation of Bulgarian men, women and children are Greece, Italy, Spain, the UK, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Austria, Germany, and Poland.

    During the recent years Bulgaria is carrying out a comprehensive reform of the legislation (judiciary) in compliance with the basic principles of the constitutional state. One of the basic priorities of the reform is undoubtedly the protection and promotion of human rights and the prevention and elimination of all forms of exploitation. Trafficking in human beings, often defined as one of the “contemporary forms of slavery”, is a very serious violation of human rights, (connected with various forms of exploitation of human beings – sexual, labour, removal of bodily organs or holding persons in forceful subjection.) and that is why taking into consideration the importance of this problem, Bulgaria took numerous measures for the elaboration of an adequate and effective policy aiming at combating this negative “phenomenon”, starting from elaboration of the necessary legislative basis. (including legislative amendments, strengthening of the cooperation between the governmental and nongovernmental sector and the international cooperation as well. All these measures were aimed at prevention of trafficking in human beings, assistance to victims and availability of effective criminal proceedings for the perpetrators of this type of crime.)

    In 2002 the National Assembly adopted amendments by which in the Penal code was created a new Section called “Trafficking in human beings” – art. 159a, 159b and 159c. All these articles define trafficking in human beings as recognised by the relevant international instruments providing the needed legal basis to prosecute perpetrators of this type of crime and impose on them effective punishments. In cases where the trafficking was committed in respect to a child specific qualified corpora delicty exist where the penalties imposed are more severe. Under Art. 159d (Previous text of Article 159c, amended, SG, No. 27/2009) where trafficking in human beings can be qualified as dangerous recidivism or has been committed at the orders or in implementing a decision of an organised criminal group, the punishment shall be deprivation of liberty from five to fifteen years and a fine from BGN twenty thousand to one hundred thousand as well as in such cases courts can impose confiscation of the property of the perpetrator.

    In 2003 the Law on combating trafficking in human beings was adopted, providing for the effective cooperation between the governmental and nongovernmental sector in this field. The law as well as has a special focus on measures to prevent and combat trafficking as well as on measures for protection and assistance to women victims and children victims.

    In 2004 were adopted the following by-law instruments to the last mentioned Law - the Regulation for the organisation and activity of the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Regulation on the shelters for temporary accommodation and the centres for protection and help for the victims of trafficking in human beings.

    In October 2006 new amendments to the Bulgarian Penal Code were adopted, namely in Art. 159a, para. 3, by which was enlarged the scope of the criminal prosecution of trafficking through the criminalisation of trafficking in respect to a pregnant woman to the purpose of selling her child.

    In November 2006, the Republic of Bulgaria signed the Council of Europe Convention on combating trafficking in human beings and on the 7-th of March 2007 the National Assembly adopted the Law on the ratification of the Convention. (The Law was promulgated in State Gazette on the 20-th of March 2007.)

    On the 1st of January 2007 entered into force the adopted in 2006 the Law on support and financial compensation to crime victims, which provides for effective national compensation system for the victims of explicit intentional serious crimes, among which is trafficking in human beings as well.

    In April 2009 new supplements to the Penal Code were adopted by which were increased the penalties for trafficking in human beings (both the length of the penalty “deprivation of liberty”, as well as the relevant fines). A new corpora delicty was also introduced – Art. 159c, through which was criminalised the use of (taking advantage of) a victim of human trafficking for acts of debauchery, forced labour, removal of organs or holding her/him in forceful subjection, regardless of her/his consent. Through the above mentioned new offence in Bulgarian legislation it was introduced the provision of Art. 19 of the Council of Europe Convention on combating trafficking in human beings. One of the main reasons for the introduction of the new offence was the necessity to raise the effectiveness of the counter-action and criminal prosecution of trafficking by addressing the problem of the so called “search” and “use/ taking advantage” of the victims of trafficking in human beings.

    In the current period of financial and economic crisis, the legal and institutional frameworks for combating trafficking in human beings and protection of the victims remain intact and continue functioning at full capacity. In the light of the victim-centred approach, Bulgaria would like to draw attention to the fact that no shelters or crisis centres were closed. Just the opposite: in September 2011 a second State-run shelter for adult victims of trafficking became fully operational, and a plan for opening more crisis centres for children victims is on the agenda.

    There is a trend of an increased number of identified trafficked pregnant women. For instance, according to the statistics for 2011, the total number for the whole year was 29 pregnant women trafficked for the purpose of selling their babies. In general, there is a trend of growing number of identified Bulgarian victims of THB.

    On the 30th of January 2012, the Committee of the Parties to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings adopted GRETA’s report about Bulgaria, as well as their recommendations.

    According to the statistics for the period January-June 2012 provided by the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office of Cassation, 337 Bulgarian nationals were identified as victims of THB. Most of the victims were women- 296, 41 were men and 37 minor boys and girls. Most of the victims were of sexual exploitation: 281, 33- forced labour, 1- servitude and 22 were trafficked pregnant women for the purpose of selling their newborns.

    There is also an increased number of identified victims with mental difficulties or problems.

    Launching of the project “Prevention of trafficking in human beings belonging to ethnic groups with a focus on the Roma community in Bulgaria”.

    The National Commission for Combating Human trafficking launched the project “Prevention of trafficking in human beings belonging to ethnic groups with a focus on the Roma community in Bulgaria” with a press conference kindly hosted by H. E. Philippe AUTIE, Ambassador of France in Bulgaria, in the Residence of France in Sofia.

    The project duration is 26 months, it is funded by the French Embassy in Sofia, French Embassy in Bucharest and Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna and it aims at:

    • the reduction in the number of (potential) victims of trafficking in human beings of Roma origin;
    • the prevention of early pregnancy among Roma women;
    • an increased level of awareness on issues, related to family planning and sexual health and the diminishing of the numbers of abandoned Roma children.

    This pilot project is also aimed to serve as a model national policy for combating trafficking in human beings among vulnerable ethnic groups in Bulgaria.

    The National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings has identified the need for improving the system of identification of victims of trafficking in general - not only on a national level but also on the regional and European levels. That is why in 2010, together with the Governments of France, Greece, Romania, the Netherlands and Spain, Bulgaria joined a project entitled “Development of common guidelines and procedures on identification of victims of trafficking”,financed by the European Commission.

    Focusing on trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation – 9 Trainings of Labour Mediators from all over the country.

    Attachments

  • 2. INSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL FRAMEWORK

    Legislation

    Trafficking for sexual exploitation, forced labour, removal of organs and holding in forceful subjection, as well as the trafficking of pregnant women for the purpose of selling their children, are prohibited. Trafficking in human beings was criminalised by the Criminal Code in 2002. In April 2009, the Criminal Code was amended to prescribe more severe punishments and fines for trafficking. A new provision that targets demand was added to harmonise the Criminal Code with article 19 of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. Penalties vary between two and fifteen years imprisonment and a fine from 3 000 to 100 000 Bulgarian levs.

    In 2003, the Parliament passed the Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Act which gives a definition to human trafficking in line with international standards.

    Identified victims of trafficking are granted a 30-day reflection period under which they can decide whether to cooperate with authorities. Victims who are not nationals of the European Union and who cooperate in criminal proceedings are provided with a residence permit for either six months or the duration of the criminal proceedings. If they choose not to cooperate, they receive a short-term stay residence permit for the reflection period. However, the legal basis for this permit is currently under development.

    National Strategy/ National Action Plan

    The Bulgarian Government has been adopting an annual National Programme for the Prevention and Counteraction of Trafficking in Human Beings and Protection of Victims since 2005. The programmes are prepared by the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (NCCTHB).They are adopted as part of the implementation of the Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Act.

    Every year, the framework of the National Programme includes the following central areas for action:

    • Institutional and organisational measures (such as building the administrative structures provided for by the Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Act at national and local level and ensuring their effective functioning);
    • Prevention (raising public awareness on the problem of human trafficking and developing mechanisms for its confinement);
    • Training and qualification of staff;
    • Protection, rehabilitation and reintegration of victims (overcoming the consequences of human trafficking and reintegrating the victims in society by assistance and support of the victims and protection of their rights);
    • International cooperation;
    • Legislative measures (contemporising the legislative measures, harmonising Bulgarian anti-trafficking legislation with international standards).

    Coordination of anti-trafficking actions at a national level

    The National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings coordinates, manages and controls national policies and strategies for combating human trafficking and protecting victims.

    The NCCTHB was established in 2004 through the Law on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. The Commission is a collective body of the Council of Ministers of Bulgaria, chaired by a Deputy Prime Minister and composed of high-level officials from twelve ministriesand institutions.

    The NCCTHB develops an annual report on the activities of the Secretariat of the Commission and of all the relevant institutions which are members of the Commission. The report follows the structure of the National Programme for Prevention and Counteraction of Trafficking in Human Beings and Protection of the Victims. Reports have been issued annually since 2006.

    Expert Group

    The National Commission has established an Expert Group, which includes experts from other relevant institutions such as the Agency for Social Protection, the National Employment Agency and major non-governmental organisations working in the field of victim protection.

    Moreover, five local Commissions for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings have been established since 2007. They are located in the high risk regions of Pazardjik, Sliven, Burgas, Varna and Montana. Two additional Local Commissions are planned to be established in the towns of Blagoevgrad and Haskovo.

    The Local Commissions are responsible for implementing the national anti-trafficking policy at a local level through involvement and cooperation with all relevant authorities and non-governmental organisations.

    National Rapporteur or equivalent mechanism

    The Bulgarian government has not established a National Rapporteur. However, the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (NCCTHB), established in 2004, de facto fulfils the same function as a national Rapporteur. The NCCTHB is a collective body of the Council of Ministers, chaired by a Deputy Prime Minister and composed of high-level officials from twelve ministries and institutions.

    The NCCTHB develops an annual report on the activities of the Secretariat of the Commission and of all the relevant institutions which are members of the Commission. The report follows the structure of the National Action Plan. Reports have been issued annually since 2006.

     

  • 3. IMPLEMENTATION OF ANTI-TRAFFICKING POLICY

    Prevention

    The National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings conducts information and awareness-raising campaigns to inform the general public and specific target groups about the risks of human trafficking. Prevention campaigns are carried out in partnership with various other governmental institutions, international and non-governmental organisations, corporate sponsors and media.

    • In 2009, the National Commission conducted a campaign under the slogan “Better informed than exploited!” The purpose of the campaign was to raise awareness about human trafficking, the ways of recruitment and the ways of protection, among risk groups: children, students and parents.
    • Another campaign carried out in 2009 by the Local Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in Burgas targeted students from 9th to 11th grade. The campaign included screenings of two movies on the issue of human trafficking as well as informational classes and a contest. Approximately 400 students, aged 14 to 17, were covered by the campaign.
    • The Local Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in Varna carried out its annual campaign &ldquo Summer without risks”. The campaign encompasses not only prevention of human trafficking, but also prevention of drug use, HIV/AIDS and anti-social behaviour. The campaign was conducted by student volunteers and the peer-to-peer approach was used.
    • The Local Commission in Varna also carried out a campaign for prevention of human trafficking for labour exploitation. It was in partnership with the Labour Bureau Inspectorates, Job Tiger (an online job search engine), the student association at two of Varna’s universities and the Bulgarian Medical Students Association.
    • The Local Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in Sliven conducted a campaign under the slogan “Stop human trafficking – people are not goods!” Additionally, a number of other local campaigns and events were carried out by all local commissions and local partners of the National Commission.

    Assistance and support provided to victims

    Several mechanisms have been established to support victims of trafficking in Bulgaria. A Transnational Referral Mechanism for Victims of Human Trafficking (TRM) was developed in 2007. The TRM regulates the necessary procedures that should be followed in cases of international trafficking - from identification to the victim’s safe return, support and reintegration.

    The experiences from the development and implementation of the TRM for both adults and children have been used in developing the National Referral Mechanism for victims of trafficking (NRM).Its purpose is to develop a victim-centred system for the referral of trafficked persons and to ensure their access to social, psychological, medical and legal services, to humanitarian and reintegration programmes. The NRM was jointly developed by the National Commission and Animus Association Foundation/ La Strada International Bulgaria.

    Children who are victims of trafficking are referred and taken care of by the Coordination Mechanism for referral, care and protection of unaccompanied Bulgarian minors returning from abroad. This mechanism is coordinated by the State Agency for Child Support and the Ministry of Interior. It deals with both national and transnational referrals.

    The majority of adult victims are assisted by privately funded non-governmental organisations. However, in April 2009, the first state-funded shelter for adult victims of trafficking was opened by the National Commission.

    Residence permits

    All victims of trafficking in Bulgaria are eligible to receive free medical and psychological care provided through public hospitals and by non-governmental organisations. Victims who are not nationals of the European Union and who cooperate in criminal proceedings are provided with full residency and employment rights for either six months or the duration of the criminal proceedings. If they choose not to cooperate with trafficking investigations they are permitted to stay in Bulgaria for one month and ten days before they face mandatory repatriation.

    Special protective measures for children

    The government established a Coordination Mechanism for the Referral, Care and Protection of Bulgarian Unaccompanied Minors Returning from Abroad in 2005. The Mechanism is coordinated by the State Agency for Child Protection and the Ministry of Interior. All relevant institutions participate in unifying practices and standards in cases of unaccompanied children.

    In addition to establishing the coordination mechanism for unaccompanied minors, the Bulgarian government doubled the number of government-run crisis centres for children from three to six in 2008. As of December 2009, there are ten crisis centres in Bulgaria. These centres provide rehabilitative, psychological and medical assistance to child victims of trafficking. In 2008, approximately 25 child trafficking victims were assisted in government shelters. Each of these shelters has the capacity to house up to ten children.

    Investigation and prosecution

    According to the Office of the Supreme Prosecutor of Cassation of Bulgaria, 108 persons were found guilty of human trafficking in 2009: 99 of them were convicted for trafficking for sexual exploitation, one for trafficking for labour exploitation, two for trafficking for forced subjection and two for trafficking of pregnant women for their unborn children.

    In April 2009, the Bulgarian Criminal Code was amended to include article 19 of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. Since then, eight persons have been sentenced for the use of services of victims of trafficking.

    Out of the total of 108 sentences, 99 have entered into force.

    Established working groups

    A specialised section on human trafficking was set up within the Chief Directorate Combating Organized Crime (CDCOC), Ministry of Interior. Eighteen police officers were assigned full time to address trafficking in persons in 2009.

    Latest initiatives/activities related to anti-trafficking policy

    The National Programme for Combating Trafficking of Human Beings for 2011 places a strong emphasis on local policies to combat human trafficking and advancement of the work of the established 5 Local Commissions for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in Varna, Burgas, Sliven, Pazardjik and Montana (marked with red point on the map). The last six months 2 new Local Commissions were established in the risk regions of Plovdiv and Ruse (marked with red point on the map).

    Additionally expansion of the prevention activities among adolescents, their parents and teachers, ethnic minorities and at border check points in order to prevent human trafficking for the purpose of labour and sexual exploitation as well as child trafficking, is foreseen.

    The National Programme for Combating Trafficking of Human Beings for 2012 will continue to place a strong emphasis on local policies to combat human trafficking and advancement of the work of the established 7 Local Commissions for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in Varna, Burgas, Sliven, Pazardjik, Montana, Ruse and Plovdiv (marked with red point on the map). Opening a new Local Commission in Blagoevgrad (close to the border of Greece and FYROM) is in the agenda.

    On September 1st 2011 the second shelter for temporary accommodation of victims of trafficking was established in Burgas.

    At the moment on operational level Bulgaria is executing 7 Joint Investigation Teams (JIT) – Three JITs are with Netherlands, two with UK and one with Germany and Slovenia. Forthcoming is forth JIT with Netherlands on labour exploitation.

    At the beginning of 2012 the National Commission launched a project “Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings Who Belong to Ethnic Groups with a Focus on the Roma Minority in Bulgaria" with the financial support of Embassy of France in Bulgaria, Permanent Representation of France to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Vienna, and the Embassy of France in Romania.

    The main objective of the project is to develop a pilot model for overall state policy for prevention of trafficking in human beings with a special focus on the vulnerable ethnic minorities in the Municipality of Varna. The specific objectives of the project are to decrease in the number of potential victims of trafficking in human beings of Roma origin in Varna; to prevent early pregnancy among Roma women.  The project also aims at increasing the level of awareness within socially vulnerable groups on issues, related to family planning and sexual health and increasing the public sensitivity on the issue of “human trafficking”.

    In August 2012 the National Commission officially launched the project „Improvement of National Anti-trafficking Policy through Transfer of Know-How, Experience and Good Practices". The project is implemented with the financial support of Operational Program "Administrative Capacity", co-funded by the European Union through the European Social Fund, in partnership with the Bureau of the Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence Against Children and will last for 18 months. The expected results from the implementation of the project are improvement of the international coordination and cooperation between national institutions engaged in combating trafficking in human beings in Bulgaria and the Netherlands as well as achieving greater working efficiency at the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and the participating non-governmental organizations in the collection and analysis of data, monitoring and evaluation of the national anti-THB policy.

    In 2012 the National Commission continued to train volunteer scholars through “peer-to-peer” trainings on THB. During the spring and summer, more than 70 students went through a 2-phase training.

    Since April 2012, five multidisciplinary trainings on THB for representatives of police, prosecution, courts, investigative bodies and Local Commissions for Combating THB were conducted.

    In December 2012, the Council of Europe is organising an international expert conference on preventing trafficking in human beings, in collaboration with the Bulgarian National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. The conference, entitled Making Prevention Work: Addressing the Root Causes of Human Trafficking in Europe, will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria. The aim of the conference is to share experiences and encourage debate on various aspects of prevention of trafficking in human beings, with an emphasis on a comprehensive, human rights-based approach and international partnerships. The conference will bring together around 100 national and international experts in various fields related to the fight against trafficking in human beings in the 47 Council of Europe members States, international and non-governmental organizations. It is envisaged to have modules devoted to:

    • prevention among minorities at risk, with a special focus on the Roma communities;
    • measures to discourage demand, including through private-public partnerships;
    • role of research and data collection in the prevention of trafficking in human beings;
    • alternative/interactive prevention methods.

    GRETA Monitoring

    Bulgaria is one of the first ten countries to be monitored on the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings in the period 2010-2013.

    A delegation of experts from GRETA carried out a country visit to Bulgaria from 21 to 24 February 2011, in order to prepare its first monitoring report on the fight against human trafficking in this country. During the visit the delegation held meetings with Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Deputy Prime Minister, as well as with other senior officials from relevant ministries and public bodies. Further, discussions were held with representatives of non-governmental organisations active in combating trafficking in human beings and human rights protection. In addition, the GRETA delegation visited accommodation facilities for victims of trafficking in Sofia and Varna.

    The most important challenges you face at national level.

    • Trafficking of children for begging and pick-pocketing;
    • Trafficking of pregnant women for the purpose of selling their newborns;
    • Identification of victims and self-identification;
    • Funds for assistance and long-term support of victims;
    • Trafficking of victims with special physical and psychological needs; physically and mentally disabled.

    National Referral Mechanism

    Bulgaria has a National Mechanism for Referral and Support of Trafficked Persons since 2009. The Bulgarian National Mechanism is developed within the framework of a project funded by MATRA Program of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented by “Animus Association” foundation, in the main partnership with the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, in the period 2008-2010. It is in accordance with the national legislation concerning the situation of trafficked persons and their needs. The National Mechanism provides for implementation of the measures for protection and support to trafficked persons included in the Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Act; guidelines call for such components as the provision of unconditional support, provision of a special protection status for the duration of the criminal proceedings, the assurance of anonymity and data protection, etc.

    The Bulgarian National Mechanism is based on the principles for development of national referral mechanisms recommended by OSCE/ODIHR, namely:

    1. Protecting the rights of trafficked persons is the first priority of all anti trafficking measures;
    2. The measures work on the basis of a broad definition of trafficking in order to create the necessary conditions for support of victims of different forms of human trafficking;
    3. Support and protection services should be available to all trafficked persons;
    4. The mechanisms for support and protection include a wide range of specialized services addressing the specific needs of each victim;
    5. The successful prosecution is achieved through the implementation of a support mechanism based on the protection of the human rights of the victims;
    6. Combating trafficking in human beings requires a multidisciplinary and cross-sector approach, involving all relevant actors from government and civil society;
    7. The establishment of structures for combating human trafficking should build upon existing national capacity in order to foster ownership and sustainability;
    8. The roles and responsibilities of all actors involved in the mechanism are clearly defined and described. Transparency of procedures is ensured;
    9. NRM provides for an effective regional and international cooperation to combat trafficking and assist its victims;
    10. The implementation of NRM as part of an overall democratization process ensures its accountability and legitimacy.

    The national mechanism for referral and support of trafficked persons in Bulgaria is structured in several parts:

    Part A: “Institutional framework” presenting all the participants in NRM and their roles and functions.

    Part B: “Leading principles of work” presenting the rules and principles for work with victims of trafficking, adopted by the participants in NRM.

    Part C: “Standard operating procedures” describing the steps and measures in support to trafficked persons.

    It also contains two appendices: “Criteria for identification of trafficked persons” and “Criteria and standards for provision of social services for trafficked persons”.

    Special attention is paid to the cases of child victims of trafficking and non-EU citizens identified as victims of trafficking in Bulgaria.

  • 4. EU AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

    Bulgaria has been participating in several international projects over recent years, especially with other EU countries of destination for Bulgarian victims.

    From the second half of 2010, the Bulgarian National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings has participated in the project Integrated approach for prevention of labour exploitation in origin and destination countries. It is coordinated by the Romanian National Agency against Trafficking in Persons and funded by the European Commission.

    Another important project for Bulgaria is a joint project with the Netherlands: Trafficking in human beings in Bulgaria and the Netherlands – common efforts in counteraction. The project aims to strengthen the efficiency of Bulgarian authorities in the response to human trafficking and to improve cooperation related to combating trafficking between Bulgaria and the Netherlands.

    The project Development of a National Referral Mechanism is implemented by Animus Association Foundation/La Strada Bulgaria in partnership with the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. The overall objective of the project is to improve the access of victims of human trafficking to humanitarian programmes and service systems for protection and reintegration in Bulgaria.

    In October 2009 and February 2010, two projects implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) were finished. Both projects aimed at the establishment of a transnational referral mechanism for victims of trafficking.

    • The first project, finished in October 2009, was the Programme to Support the Development of Transnational Referral Mechanisms for Trafficked Persons in South-Eastern Europe (TRM-SEE). The project elaborated guidelines for a Transnational Referral Mechanism.
    • The second project, implemented by ICMPD, finished in February 2010 was the Development of a transnational referral mechanism for victims of trafficking in countries between countries of origin and destination.The project aimed at developing a functional, institutionalised transnational referral mechanism for victims of trafficking between EU and non-EU countries.

    Another project in which Bulgaria participates is the project Reducing the number of Romanian and Bulgarian victims exploited in Italy and Spain, funded by the European Commission and implemented by the Romanian National Agency against Trafficking in Persons. The general objective of the project is to reduce the number of victims of trafficking for labour exploitation through cooperation and coordination between the EU origin and destination countries.

    Future plans in terms of implementation of the directive 2011/36/EU

    Bulgarian national legislation is in conformity with the international instruments regulating the counteraction against trafficking in human beings. Bulgaria welcomes and fully supported the actions taken at EU level to raise the effectiveness of combating trafficking namely by the elaboration and the recent adoption of the Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA. This new instrument undoubtedly has added value in comparison to all already existing international instruments in this area, and will serve as the needed tool to counteract trafficking more effectively taking into account the specific features of this type of criminality as well as the vulnerability of its victims and especially of the child-victims.

    The National Programme for Prevention and Counteraction of Trafficking in Human Beings and Protection of Victims for 2011 provides for the following measures, related to changes in the national legislation:

    • Preparation of criminal legislation to provide for the opportunity to seek out criminal responsibility for parents, who are creating preconditions for their children's involvement in human trafficking or exploitation, as well as discussing the possibility of withdrawal of parental rights of individuals who are proved to be exploiting children through appropriate amendments to the Child Protection and other laws where necessary.
    • Specification of the criminal law decrees related to human trafficking, also including an option of providing those relating to the protection of victims of trafficking, in the new Penal Code about dropping off the prosecution against victims of human trafficking in art. 279, par. 5 of the Penal Code (illegal crossing of the border), where the offence was committed under duress, during the commission of the crime "human trafficking".

    Under the current project for the new Penalty Code of the Republic of Bulgaria, the concepts in the Directive 2011/36/EU are incorporated. As soon as the project is adopted and enters into force, Bulgaria can report on this point.

  • 5. RESOURCES
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