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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                               

Republic of Bulgaria

Bulgaria, a former Communist country that entered the EU on 1 January 2007, has experienced strong growth since a major economic downturn in 1996. Successive governments have demonstrated a commitment to economic reforms and responsible fiscal planning, but have failed so far to rein in rising inflation and large current account deficits. Bulgaria has averaged more than 6% growth since 2004, attracting significant amounts of foreign direct investment, but corruption in the public administration, a weak judiciary, and the presence of organized crime remain significant challenges.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Bulgaria

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Bulgaria.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspect(s) of street life are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got there, how they survive, and how some manage to leave the street.  Perhaps your paper could focus on how some street children abuse the public and how they are abused by the public … and how they abuse each other.  Would you like to write about market children? homeless children?  Sexual and labor exploitation? begging? violence? addiction? hunger? neglect? etc.  There is a lot to the subject of Street Children.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Children of Bulgaria - Police Violence and Arbitrary Confinement

Human Rights Watch, September 1996, ISBN 1-56432-200-9

[accessed 16 January 2017]

Children in Bulgaria are often deprived of their basic rights by police, the very people who are supposed to protect them. After conducting a fact-finding mission to Bulgaria in the spring of 1996, Human Rights Watch concludes that street children are often subjected to physical abuse and other mistreatment by police, both on the street and in police lock-ups, and by skinhead gangs, who brutally attack the children because of their Roma (Gypsy) ethnic identity.


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The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 24 January 2011]

CURRENT GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND PROGRAMS TO ELIMINATE THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR - Several Bulgarian localities established programs integrating children of Roma ethnicity into schools.  In order to increase Roma attendance, the government and NGOs provide subsidies for schooling expenses such as school lunches, books, and tuition fees.  With support from USAID, the Government of Bulgaria conducts additional ethnic integration efforts.  The government has also provided funding for additional teaching assistants, usually from minority ethnic groups, to be placed in classrooms with Roma and Turkish students.  The World Bank is funding a child welfare reform project in Bulgaria, which aims to prevent child abandonment and identify sub-projects targeting street children.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 7 February 2020]

CHILDREN - Widespread poverty led many Romani children to turn to begging, prostitution, and petty crime on the streets.

In December 2004 the SACP reported that 625 children were known to be either living or working on the streets and were primarily involved in begging, prostitution, or car window washing; approximately 400 of these children were believed to be exploited for labor by adults, although experts believed that actual figures were higher. There were reports that approximately 225 children lived and worked on the streets without the involvement of a trafficker, pimp, or other third party. Many of these children had been abandoned by their parents or sent by their families to urban areas to seek work. The NSI reported a 68 percent increase from 2003 to 2004 in the number of children registered by police for vagrancy and begging: 1,785 children in 2004, compared to 1,059 in 2003. As part of the national strategy for street children, SACP continued implementing the programs it initiated in 2003 to address the situation of street children. One of these programs included putting street children in protective custody. In the first nine months of the year, the MOI placed 274 children involved in begging and vagrancy in five special shelters for street children; in 2004 496 such children were sent to these shelters. The shelters were intended to serve more as immediate protective resources than facilities for long‑term or intermediate care. They provided food, bathing facilities, and basic medical care, but children were usually not kept for more than 24 hours unless remanded to protective custody by the special order of a prosecutor

Concluding Observations Of The Committee On The Rights Of The Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 7 and 8 January 1997

[accessed 24 January 2011]

[11] With regard to the implementation of article 4 of the Convention, the Committee notes with concern the inadequacy of measures taken and the insufficient capacity of existing bodies, including the Youth and Children Committee, to ensure the implementation of children's economic, social and cultural rights to the maximum extent of available resources. The Committee is particularly concerned at the insufficient policies, measures and programs for the protection of the rights of the most vulnerable children, especially children living in poverty, children born out of wedlock, abandoned children, disabled children, children who are victims of abuse, children belonging to minority groups, especially Roma, and children who, in order to survive, are living and/or working in the streets.

Street Children

Human Rights Watch Report

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 21 September 2011]

In Bulgaria, Guatemala, India, and Kenya, Human Rights Watch has reported that police violence against street children is pervasive, and impunity is the norm. The failure of law enforcement bodies to promptly and effectively investigate and prosecute cases of abuse against street children allows the violence to continue. Establishing police accountability is further hampered by the fact that street children often have no recourse but to complain directly to police about police abuses. The threat of police reprisals against them serves as a serious deterrent to any child coming forward to testify or make a complaint against an officer.

Bourgas new komplex to help children

Special Correspondent, The Sofia Echo, Apr 24 2006

[accessed 10 April 2011]

Bourgas mayor Yoan Kostadinov officiated at the April 12 opening of a new day care centre for street children.

The main goal of the centre will be to assist children who live and work on the streets and to prevent them from dropping out of school. It will offer emergency help to street children, including clothes, food and shelter.

Where Leaders Learn

Amanda Millet-Sorsa interviews Dimitry-Ivan Evstatiev Panitza, Chairman of the Free and Democratic Bulgaria Foundation, The Sofia Echo, Jul 10 2003

[accessed 10 April 2011]

WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE FOR CREATING THE STREET CHILDREN PROGRAM? - The children and youth are free to come and leave whenever they want since it's not an orphanage or an institution. However, once there they get assistance, food, shelter where they can spend the night, and they have educators who teach them how to read, write, and to draw. Since a normal Bulgarian school is situated nearby, the educators help them go to school so that some capable children are sent there and others are sent to boarding schools in the country. Basically out of 100 percent a third are happy kids being educated, a third go back to their families, and unfortunately a third go back to the streets.  Once on the streets they are open to all the violence and horrible things that happen such as skinheads, child prostitution, and drugs. These incidents do not only occur in Sofia but everyday on the streets as a big town in the world.

Faith, Hope and Love Center for Street Children

Alliance for Children and Youth, Sofia Bulgaria

[accessed 10 April 2011]

[accessed 24 November 2016]

SOCIAL REHABILITATION. Street life impedes the formation of a positive self-conception, leads to interpersonal relationship problems, to the formation of false perceptions about the structure and functions of society. The Center provides qualified psychological and social assistance for overcoming the above consequences. The daily routine is aimed at forming basic notions of social life, of understanding and learning moral norms, rules and values, interpersonal communication skills corresponding to the children's age, motivation for maintenance of a pro-social behavior.

NATIONAL INFORMATION CENTER - Established in 1997, the National Information Center on the Problems of Street Children in Bulgaria (NICOPOST) is a national data bank that collects and disseminates information on runaway, abandoned and homeless children from all over the country. A monthly newsletter as well as books and brochures dealing with the issue of the homeless and needy youth are distributed to over 400 academic, governmental and non-governmental institutions, social workers, members of parliament, etc.

NICOPOST regularly organizes national round table discussions on the Problems of Street Children in Bulgaria with participants from all over Bulgaria. Past topics, among others, have focused on childcare reform in Bulgaria and the new rights and duties of the state institutions, local authorities and NGOs concerning street children.

Save the Children Moves in to Help Children in Bulgaria - A Country in Crisis

Save the Children Fund, A Briefing For Journalists, 24 February 1997

[accessed 10 April 2011]

Parents who cannot afford to buy enough food and fuel to feed and warm their children are faced with one terrible way out: many have already put their offspring into the hundreds of state orphanages, countless others will do so in the months ahead. These institutions, some well run, some dilapidated and dirty, are themselves facing a crisis as the government's ability to maintain them declines.

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