Institutions work together to prevent trafficking in human beings in and from Bulgaria

Submitted by admin on Fri, 08/30/2019 - 11:41

The refugees and migrants are among groups of people, who are in risk to become victim of human trafficking and labor exploitation because of various economic, political and social factors.  What is the situation at the present moment in our country (Bulgaria) and what are the planned measures for prevention and sanctions regarding of such type of committed crime. Some of the answers of the previous questions can be found in the following report: Human trafficking and economic/business sectors susceptible to be involved in the demand and supply chain of products and services resulting from victims’ exploitation. The report has been prepared within the framework of the initiative “Anti-trafficking stakeholders and economic sectors networking, cooperation to combat the business of human trafficking chain — NET-COMBAT –THB- CHAIN “with the financial support granted by “Internal Security Fund: Police – European Commission. This document deal with measures, , processes and cases on the territory of Romania, Bulgaria, Greece,  Germany, and Italy according to data collected by Association “ Pro Refugiu” (Romania) in cooperation with Center for the Study of Democracy (Bulgaria), Centre for European Constitutional Law Greece,  Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (Italy) and International Youth Association, Württemberg. (Germany). Let us see what is the situation in our country according to the reported data.

Bulgaria was always among countries with most human trafficking victims. According to the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings the most risky economic/ business sectors in West and Central Europe for labor exploitation of local victims are: construction sector, agricultural sector, tourism, domestic work sector and in the service sector in general.  Conventionally, the victims give their consent to work, but they have not been informed about the working conditions. 

The recommendations of National Employment Agency in relation to prevention of such type of cases are designed mainly for the recruiting agency as a basic unit, where the contact between traffickers and victims has been usually enabled.  The identical recommendations and conclusions have been given as well as by General Labor Inspectorate Executive Agency. As a preventive measure the candidates have been informed by the National Employment Agency, that they should have signed agreement between an employee and an employer (contract) and work permission. Moreover, the job offer by unlicensed recruitment agency should be not accepted. The licensed recruiting agency should have license to offer job abroad. Therefore, the illegal employment by contractors/ companies should not be tolerated. In the last report GRETA for Bulgaria the close interrelationship with the private sector and encouragement of professional business ethic has been discussed. 

The specific methods of traffickers in cooperation with the local business environment are hard to be defined. The following risk factors for commit of crime have been pointed out by the National criminological Organization: bad work conditions, insufficient regulation of labor rights. The small company, those have departments and activities in the country of origin as well as in the country of destination are often in cooperation with illegal organization of human traffickers. 

It should not be underestimated the role of the recruiting agencies in the process of human trafficking. They provide support for buying of tickets, but they do not engage themselves to check the fake/illegal working documents und their role in the human trafficking is difficult to be proved. It is common practice among Bulgarian recruiting agency to send workers abroad, but they receive payment accordingly the Bulgarian legislative framework. 

It is difficult to collect data about the illegal migrants and their employment. Because of this only unofficial information could be quoted, that they work mostly in exotic fast food restaurants, hookah lounge, and Chinese’s entrepreneurs company and even at taxi Driver Company. Among Bulgarians as well as among migrants the main factors, those distinguish the legal employment of illegal are: duration of working hours, amount of remuneration and inconsistencies of real and official job description. 

Within the period between 2015 and 2017 the established number of victim of labor exploitation on the territory of Bulgaria has been increased from 26 to 67, in the most cases among men. This is the conclusion accordingly the data collected by National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings

Within the period between 2015 and 2017 the amount of victims of labor exploitation on the territory of the country has been increase from 26 to 67, most of them are men. This information is accordingly National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. The Commission examines and performs verification an average of about 100 signals for potential cases of human trafficking. Information and details about the criminal proceedings against local firms and corporate companies on the territory on Bulgaria are missing in the report.  The Bulgarian legislation system provides guarantees against forms of labor exploitation: constitutional framework forbids forced labor and specific measures that are established by the Labor Code. In Bulgaria there is no criminal liability for legal persons, because of this they could be prosecuted only for the use of services provided by victims of trafficking. The legal measures and penalties are mentioned in the Administrative violations and sanctions act - property sanctions, which can reach up to 1 000 000 leva.

The labor migration law and occupational mobility enforces measures specifically on cases involving EU citizens and citizens from third countries not only for the  persons who work without working permission, but also for their employers, even the fine could be higher for the last mentioned category. The fine against an employer who hires illegal migrants could be of amount from 3000 to 30 000, with the possibility of doubling upon establishing repeated violations. For comparison, the sanctions against recruitment agencies that offer temporary work in violation of the law are only 1000 to 2500 leva for the first violation.

More information could be found in the following report containing data from Romania, Greece, Germany and Italy:  https://csd.bg/fileadmin/user_upload/publications_library/files/2019_04/NET-COMBAT-CHAIN_Study_Report_BG.pdf.