Bulgaria is one of the primary countries being targeted for the use of human trafficking. Sexual exploitation is the main reason these victims are being targeted, while labor exploitation continues to grow. Bulgarian citizens are targeted into human trafficking due to their lack of education, financial crisis, unemployment, racism, ethnic discrimination, and because of corruption. According to the U.S. Department of State, listed Bulgaria on a Tier 2 Watch List, which includes countries whose governments are not in full compliance with minimum standards but they are making significant efforts to come into compliance (2017). On October 25th, 2007 The Council of Europe Convention signed the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. Most of the reported activities related to prevention of trafficking were funded and organized by international donors and NGOs (Non-Governmental organizations. For care and Protection, once the victims are identified the investigating authorities are obligated to inform them immediately about the opportunity to receive special protection if they agree to cooperate with investigation of the crime within 30 days.
• Bulgarian Criminal Justice System
Figure 1. The Bulgarian Criminal Justice System Hierarchy Graph. This figure demonstrates all the components that creates the criminal justice system in Bulgaria.
The Bulgarian Criminal Code process begins with a preliminary check, into the investigation and prosecutions, and then to its final remarks. The Bulgarian Supreme Court of Cassation enforced a policy into the Section IX of the criminal code to remove the “means” as an element of the crime of human trafficking. In order to strengthen services within the police functions a special purpose Work Group for Combating Human trafficking was created in October 2000. Including the National Service for Combating Organized Crime, The National Border Police Service, the National Police, the National Gendarmerie, and the Interpol National Centre in Bulgaria.
• Victim Services/Stats
Bulgaria happens to be one of the top main source countries for human trafficking. According to the article, the RiskMonitor Foundation created a study in order to determine the statistics of human trafficking in Bulgaria. After interviewing victims, pimps, law enforcement, prosecutors and taking knowledge of the number of unknown victims based on the cases already reviewed they could estimate that about 8,000 to 12,000 individuals are exploited at a time outside Bulgaria.
Bulgaria has a large number of victims that are targeted for human trafficking. The government has required for victims to have their rights to be informed of their opportunity to receive special protection. Under the anti-trafficking legislation victims can receive a long-term residence permits for foreign citizens and prolongation in shelters. Victims will be given their rights as well as their benefits. The government operated 15 crisis centers for child victims of violence that could provide shelter and generalized psychological and medical assistance to child victims of trafficking in 2014.The non- governmental organization play a huge role in the prevention and help of victims. Organizations like The Nadja Centre, La Strada, caritas Bulgaria, and many more provide medical, social, psychological, and legal consultation are available for victims.
The Bulgarian population density is 110,550 square kilometers. It’s population has been decreasing slightly every year due to their negative demographic trends. Bulgaria has a low life expectancy, low fertility rate, increase of internal and external migration, and high mortality rate. Bulgaria continues to rise within their economy. The country hopes to improve their GDP. The Gross domestic product for 2016 was 53.238 billion USD according to the world bank reaching its all-time high.