Trafficking in Human Beings

Globally, trafficking in human beings is serious violation of human rights and abuse of human dignity. As a form of organized crime it undermines the basic principles of the lawful order and democratic standards in society. The transnational character of the phenomenon demands the joint efforts of all relevant institutions an a national, regional and international level.

Trafficking in human beings is defined as modern slavery and is a serious crime, connected to the exploitation of people, which are treated as commodities for sale. Trafficking in human beings is an exceptionally lucrative business for traffickers, with profits reaching up to 31 billion euro per year[1]. For victims, trafficking is always accompanied with violence, control, coercion, and false promises. For the larger part of our society, this issue seems distant and imaginary, but the truth is that this is one of the great risks globally today.

Trafficking in human beings is a phenomenon that affects Bulgaria, which is predominantly a country of origin for victims of trafficking, and also a transit country due to its geographical location. Its strategic location makes the country especially vulnerable in regards to illegal channels not only for trafficking in human beings but also for immigrants, which try to illegally cross state borders.

„With the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact the greatest threat to the security and defense of Western Europe since the end of the Second World War ceases to exist. The focus is shifted from the defense of the territory of various states from military invasion towards non-territorial security threats – terrorism, trafficking in human beings, drugs, weapons, organized crime. Along with the economy, politics and the social sphere, the enlarged concept of security within the borders of the EU includes non-traditional issues of illegal migration“ [2] and trafficking in human beings“.

The accession of Bulgaria in the European Union in January 2007 left the country facing new challenges, including the larger inflow of immigrants and asylum-seekers, and defined the real threat of the country becoming a final destination for legal and illegal immigrants and victims of trafficking.

Close to 160 countries admitted officially in 2008 that trafficking in human beings is a real issue to them, with 116 of them already having criminalized it in one way or another in their legislation.

[1] Source: The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT)

[2] Simeonova, Denislava. „Migration and internal security. Challenges before the migration policies of the European Union and Bulgaria“, 2004, p.5

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