BULGARIA PARTICIPATES IN EUROPOL-COORDINATED EUROPE-WIDE ACTION TO COMBAT TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS FOR LABOUR EXPLOITATION

Representatives from CDCOC and CDBP – Ministry of Interior, GLIEA and NCCTHB took part in the joint action days; Inspections of eight suspects have been launched.

Representatives from the law enforcement agencies, labour inspectorates, immigration services, tax authorities and other partners from 26 EU Member States took part in the joint action days of a Europe-wide operation targeting organised crime groups trafficking vulnerable people for the purpose of labour exploitation. Between 13 – 20 May, two crime areas – trafficking in human beings and facilitating illegal immigration – were targeted with actions carried out to safeguard victims and identify those responsible for their trafficking and exploitation.

Officials from the Ministry of Interior – Chief Directorate „Combating Organized Crime“ (CDCOC) and Chief Directorate „Border Police“ (CDBP) – as well as from the General Labour Inspectorate Executive Agency (GLIEA), took part in the planned actions on the territory of Bulgaria on May 15-19. Thirty-five interrogations of Bulgarian citizens were conducted; actions were carried out in five locations. Investigations of eight suspects were launched, seven of whom suspected of labour exploitation, and one – of sexual exploitation.

In addition to the operational activities, the joint teams, assisted by representatives from the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and the British Embassy in Sofia, held an awareness-raising campaign on the prevention of labour exploitation.

In the span of the action week, more than 22,193 individuals and 6,056 vehicles were checked, alongside checks at over 2,900 business and other locations. As a result, 133 suspects were detained or arrested for offences including trafficking in human beings and illegal immigration. 221 potential victims of trafficking were identified. Data gathered during the operation has led to the launch of 44 new investigations in order to identify further suspects and victims linked to human trafficking cases across the EU.

Prevention campaign of the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (NCCTHB)

Many people who seek seasonal or permanent work abroad, or want to continue their education in another country, become victims of fraud. The preliminary arrangements and promises made by the employers differ drastically from the real terms. People are forced to work and live in miserable conditions for low or no payment. Their documents are often taken away and they sometimes have to pay unregulated amount of money for the work and / or housing provided. If something like this has happened to you or you know someone who is in a similar situation, then you are most likely a victim of human trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation or forced labour.

If you are looking for work abroad, NCCTHB advises you:

– to run a check the employer / There is a list of licensed employment intermediaries on the website of the Employment Agency https://www.az.government.bg/;

– not to trust dubious offers with improbable reward promises;

– to sign a contract in Bulgarian or in another language that you understand, as well as in the official language of the employer’s country;

– not to give your identification papers to anyone, under any pretext.

For further information, do not hesitate to contact the General Labour Inspectorate Executive Agency, the Employment Agency, the labour and social policy offices at the different embassies of Bulgaria, the national and local anti-trafficking commissions, and the bureaus of labour.

Make sure you have familiarized yourself with the address and the phone number of the Еmbassy / Representation of Bulgaria in the country you are travelling to. If you turn out to be in a risky situation and you are in trouble, contact them or the police immediately.