Bulgaria Struggling to Adequately Fund Anti-Trafficking Measures
Wednesday, December 2, 2009 1:50 PM

1 December 2009


According to Deutsche Welle, a lack of law enforcement and judicial oversight has allowed Bulgaria to become a haven for sex traffickers in recent years, but local NGOs claim the government has recently stepped up its efforts to combat the sex trade.

Human trafficking in Bulgaria began with state-supported organized crime groups controlling the forced labor market for the communist government. When the communist government fell in 1989, the crime groups established sex trafficking rings with connections to the West.

Bulgarian advocacy groups like Animus cite limited resources and support from the government as a major obstacle to effectively combating trafficking in the country. Anti-trafficking laws in Bulgaria require the government to set up shelters for rescued trafficking victims, but existing shelters lack the funding necessary to house survivors for longer than one month.  Bulgaria's funding from the European Union was terminated last year due to corruption.

Several recent court proceedings signal a positive shift in the attitude of the Bulgarian government, but local NGOs continue to advocate for increased social education efforts to address the root of the trafficking problem.

Compiled from: Saroja Coelho, "Bulgaria Fights Uphill Battle Against Trafficking," Deutsche Welle (28 November 2009).