Varna: Campaign on the 18 th of October - European Day against Trafficking in Human Beings

For another year, the Local Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and the Directorate "Preventions" – Varna Municipality, together with the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, launched an information campaign on the occasion of "18 October – European Day for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings", under the title "Trafficking in human beings for sexual exploitation exists".

Involvement in this type of exploitation is one of the most widespread forms of trafficking, according to official data from the Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Bulgaria and the European Commission. Every year, around 300 Bulgarian citizens, mainly women, are tricked and sexually exploited, including abroad.

During the campaign, 14-31 October, a number of initiatives will be held aimed at increasing empathy for victims of the crime of trafficking in human beings and awareness of involvement mechanisms, vulnerable groups, types of exploitation and how we can protect ourselves: 

On October 14, together with the Municipal Commission for Combating Anti-Social Acts of Minors, there is a training of presidents and secretaries of the Local Commissions for Combating Anti-Social Acts of Minors from Varna and the region on the topic: "The new dimensions of trafficking in human beings and the risks on the Internet for children in the conditions of COVID-19,  social isolation and distance learning'.

On the 15th of October, a two-day training for 25 volunteers from School Prevention Clubs, working under the "peers train peers" method, was launched on topic: "Prevention of trafficking in human beings and risks on the Internet in a situation of COVID-19 and social isolation".

As a lecturer in training for professionals and volunteers, Antoaneta Vasileva, member of the expert monitoring group on the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, was invited.

On 17 October, volunteers from Varna high schools, members of the School Prevention Clubs (SPC) at the Prevention Directorate, Varna Municipality, will participate in an online event as part of the "Walk For Freedom" campaign under the title "The Meaning Of Freedom", organized by A21 Bulgaria Foundation, where they will receive more information about trafficking in human beings and ways to oppose modern slavery.

On the 22nd of October, the LCCTHB in Varna, the Prevention Directorate, the Municipality of Varna together with the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation organized a discussion forum for professionals on the topic. "Investigation of trafficking in human beings. Challenges. Granting of protection and access to rights’’ The forum will be attended by magistrates, Ministry of Interior officials, NGOs, representatives of the municipality of Dolen Chiflik, members of the LCCTHB Ruse and LCCTHB Varna.

As lecturers are invited prosecutor Gergana Kyurkchyiska, administrative head of the Oryahovo Regional Prosecutor's Office, a proven specialist with extensive experience in investigating and counteracting trafficking in human beings, and Mrs. Anna Nikolova, president of the SOS - Families at Risk Foundation, manager of the shelter for temporary accommodation of victims of human trafficking.

During the campaign, in 12 schools in Varna with established School Prevention Clubs under the Prevention Directorate, volunteers working on the "peers train peers" method will hold information sessions. The aim is to inform young people about the risks of falling into trafficking in human beings and methods of protection.

With the support of the student councils, information meetings will be held at the Technical and Economic Universities in the city.

All initiatives within the Campaign are organized in compliance with the anti-epidemic measures for COVID- 19.