site.btaEU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Diane Schmitt Visits Bulgaria

EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Diane Schmitt Visits Bulgaria
EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Diane Schmitt Visits Bulgaria
Justice Ministry Photo

European Union Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Diane Schmitt is visiting Bulgaria. On Wednesday, she had a meeting with Deputy Prosecutor General Maria Pavlova, Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC) Lada Paunova, and Deputy Director of the National Investigation Service (NIS) Juliana Petkova, the Prosecutor's Office said.

The representatives of the judiciary and the European coordinator concurred that coordination between institutions at national and European level, exchange of data and good practices are key to combating human trafficking and achieving better results.

Deputy Prosecutor General Maria Pavlova underlined that the investigation and prevention of this type of crime is a priority for the Bulgarian prosecution service. She said that in August this year a specialised inter-agency unit was established between the prosecution and the Ministry of the Interior to support the investigation of crimes related to illegal migration, which every month presents publicly the results of its activities.

Pavlova, Paunova and Petkova participate in the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings with the Council of Ministers.

Lada Paunova pointed out that the court has a registry for this type of cases, which helps to carry out timely analysis and identify specific problems in their handling. She noted that a request has been made for new functionality of the unified information system of the courts, allowing the collection of information on all cases of trafficking in human beings initiated and handled by the courts in Bulgaria.

Juliana Petkova noted that the capacity of the NIS to investigate cases of trafficking in human beings is currently severely underestimated.

Diane Schmitt stressed the importance of cooperation between national authorities and the EU for the implementation of the directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, the protection of victims and the prosecution of traffickers. She encouraged the Bulgarian institutions to use all possible legal instruments to combat this type of crime, such as joint investigation teams, cooperation with Eurojust, Europol, etc.

Afterwards, Diane Schmitt also met with the Deputy Minister of Justice Georgi Nikolov, the Ministry of Justice said. The meeting was also attended by the chairwoman of the National Legal Aid Bureau (NLAB) Natalia Ilieva and her deputy Lilia Simeonova.

Nikolov informed that Bulgaria has the necessary legislative framework in place - a criminal-legal framework introduced in 2007, as well as a mechanism for financial compensation for victims of human trafficking.

Since the beginning of the year, a Criminology Research Council has been established at the Ministry of Justice, and one of the topics it is working on is prevention and trends related to human trafficking, Nikolov added. A working group of magistrates and academics has also been formed under the council to make proposals for changes to the criminal legal framework by the end of the year. 

Diane Schmitt pointed out that at the EU level, the results in terms of prosecutions and convictions are not good, as the detection of this type of crime requires international resources, given their cross-border nature. She acknowledged the criminalisation of acts committed by persons using victims of trafficking for various purposes as a step forward in the country.

Natalia Ilieva explained the procedures in place here through which victims of trafficking in human beings can receive free legal assistance - through the regional centres of the country's bar councils and the national legal aid helpline, as well as through the appointment of an ex-officio defence counsel in pre-trial and court proceedings.




By 05:37 on 28.02.2024 Today`s news

Nothing available

This website uses cookies. By accepting cookies you can enjoy a better experience while browsing pages.

Accept More information