The number of criminal charges pressed for trafficking in human beings has increased by 30 per cent in Bulgaria, the country’s Justice Minister, Diana Kovacheva, said on December 4 2012.
She said that awareness among Bulgarians of the problem had increased in recent years, leading to an increase in cases reported to the police.
Kovacheva was speaking at a news conference at the opening of an international conference being held in Sofia on the prevention of people trafficking in Europe.
The forum has been organised by the Council of Europe and the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.
Nicolas le Coz, chairperson of the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, said that there were three “pillars” that could overcome the problem of human trafficking – prosecution, protection of victims and prevention. He said that women and children were the most vulnerable.
On October 18, European Day against People Trafficking, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio said that statistics showed that in the first half of 2012, the number of victims of human trafficking in Bulgaria was 337 and if the trend continued, the figure for this year would be higher than the 541 recorded in 2011.
The report said that experts believed that the actual number of people subjected to human trafficking was much higher. Most of the victims were women subjected to sexual exploitation.
In Bulgaria in 2011, 57 people were jailed for human trafficking and a further 61 were given suspended sentences.
(Photo: Kerem Yucel/sxc.hu)