During the year 2008, the National Commission and local committees carried out key institutional and organisational measures and activities implemented by the institutions and organisations responsible for the implementation of the 2008 National Programme. Among these activities was the creation of an organization of research, analysis and statistical reporting of data on human trafficking with the NCCTHB. Under The Programme for the Enhancement of Anti-Trafficking Responses in South Eastern Europe – Data Collection and Information Management implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) in ten countries in South Eastern Europe, in the beginning of 2008 the NCCTHB received a computer configuration with a database of victims of human trafficking installed. The information collected about the victims will be used by the NCCTHB to analyse the trends in the recruitment, transport, period of exploitation, process of identification and provision of assistance and protection to the victim of trafficking.

Additionally, since April 2008, the NCCTHB has been the main partner in the implementation of the Project for the Establishment of a National Referral Mechanism for Trafficking in Human Beings Victims in Bulgaria and Provision of Protection and Assistance for Trafficking in Human Beings Victims‟ Reintegration and Social Inclusion. The project is implemented by Animus Association Foundation/La Strada Bulgaria and is funded under the MATRA Programme of the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The project time frame is 2008 – 2011. The purpose of the project is to ensure access for the victims of human trafficking in Bulgaria to the social services included in humanitarian programmes and protection and reintegration programmes.

In January 2008, commissioned by the NCCTHB, Mediana Agency conducted a quantitative sociological survey among 1,502 people of more than 18 years of age on the topic of Public Opinion and Public Attitudes to Trafficking in Human Beings. Although the Bulgarian society attaches negative connotations to human trafficking, one in four people is not clear about what it means. In one of the risk groups, that of young people with low education, this share is 45%. At the same time, one in seven young people in Bulgaria is a potential victim of trafficking – 13% state that they have plans to move abroad in the next 2 – 3 years. Moreover, most Bulgarians define as trafficking in human beings the cases in which the victims suffer damages (forced prostitution, forced “bondage” of illegal workers and failure to receive the remuneration agreed, etc.). When, however, the people trafficked do not suffer damages, the public opinion does not consider this trafficking. Two-thirds of the people (more than 70% among the young people) do not see anything wrong in someone becoming an “illegal” worker abroad.

The effects of these findings for the NCCTHB is that young people do not know that the Commission exists, and they are not clear what its functions are or what it deals with. The associations in this regard are limited to organisations from the non-governmental sector. Only two people had heard about the existence of such a commission and some believed it to be a police department or a nongovernmental organisation.

With respect to the continuation of international cooperation with regards to the traffic of persons, the NCCTHB maintains its membership in the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) with the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. Also of importance is the continued establishment of bilateral contacts and exchange of experience and best practices with similar organisations and state bodies working in the field of combating and preventing 46 trafficking in human beings in Member States of the European Union, the Council of Europe and third countries.

The full 2008 National Report can be downloaded (in English) here: download (extension .pdf)