[ Country-by-Country Reports ]

BULGARIA (Tier 2) Extracted in part from U.S. State Dept TIP Report, June 2020]

The Government of Bulgaria does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore Bulgaria remained on Tier 2. These efforts included investigating, prosecuting, and convicting more traffickers, extraditing more suspected traffickers, and increasing prevention projects targeting vulnerable groups, such as members of the Roma community and children. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. Courts continued to issue suspended sentences for most convicted traffickers. Officials’ lack of knowledge of trafficking indicators hindered effective victim identification, resulting in the government identifying fewer victims. Corruption in law enforcement and the judiciary continued to hinder progress, and investigations into complicit officials rarely led to prison sentences.

Prioritized Recommendations

Increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict sex trafficking and labor trafficking cases, and sentence traffickers, including complicit government officials, to significant prison terms. • Proactively identify potential trafficking victims, and provide training for officials on victim identification. • Introduce a sustainable financial mechanism for victim services, and allocate adequate funding for anti-trafficking activities and programs, including the implementation of objectives in the national strategy and national program. • Enhance efforts to train law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and judges to understand the severity of sex trafficking and labor trafficking crimes and their impact on victims. • Establish a dedicated unit of prosecutors specializing in trafficking issues. • Increase the number of police officers investigating trafficking crimes. • Establish a database on investigations, prosecutions, and convictions, including prison sentence data categorized by type of trafficking. • Appoint an executive secretary to the National Commission for Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings to lead anti-trafficking efforts, and fill the remaining vacancies in the executive secretariat. • Provide additional dedicated shelters for trafficking victims. • Reform the victim compensation process to make it accessible to trafficking victims, and increase the number of victims receiving compensation.