USA with new criticism of Bulgaria
Bulgaria still does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking, but is making significant efforts in this direction. This is stated in the latest Report on Human Trafficking of the US State Department, quoted by BNR.
The document says that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bulgarian government has shown greater efforts in the fight against human trafficking.
Among the positive steps noted are the increase in funding for a national strategy, more funding for children in crisis centers and co-operation on the international stage, which includes the creation of a brochure for Bulgarians working abroad with information on their rights.
At the same time, the government has not met minimum standards in several key areas, the report said. Among them are minor sentences against the majority of convicted traffickers. Something that, according to the document, could undermine efforts to tackle the problem.
The report added, “Corruption among law enforcement and the judiciary continues to hamper progress and alleged complicity in trafficking-related crimes continues to go unpunished.”
Bulgaria is also presented as one of the countries that are major sources of human trafficking in the European Union.
This is the 21st report of the State Department on the subject, in which 188 countries are represented.
Each country is placed at a certain level. The first round countries comply with international standards. Those at the second level, including Bulgaria, it is important to show progress in meeting the standards. If they fall into the third round, it means that the parties do not make efforts to meet the minimum conditions and this can lead to restrictions.
This year, 17 of the countries face potential US sanctions because they are believed to have not done enough to combat human trafficking. Some US allies, such as New Zealand, Portugal, Israel and Norway, have also been criticized for being in the second round.
The new report covers the period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 and points out that the pandemic has put millions at risk of exploitation and has diverted the attention of governments from dealing with human trafficking.