67% of trafficking victims in Europe are from Europe

Bulgaria and Romania are among the main countries of origin because of poverty, social exclusion and early school leaving

More than 330 human trafficking victims were identified in Bulgaria for the first half of 2018, and most of them were women trafficked for sexual exploitation, National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Secretary Kamelia Dimitrova told a news conference in Sofia on 18 October. The event marked EU Anti-Trafficking Day.

The next largest category of victims were those trafficked for labour exploitation and women who travelled abroad to sell their newborn babies. This type of crime generates €29bn worldwide. Romania and Bulgaria are ranked among the principal European countries of origin for human trafficking because of poverty, social exclusion and early school leaving.

“In Europe alone, identified victims of human trafficking originally come from 137 countries. But it might surprise you to learn that 67% of victims in Europe are from Europe. They are citizens of the EU - Bulgaria and Romania are among the main countries of origin but others include Hungary, Poland and the Netherlands, to name a few,” said Kamelia Dimitrova.

“For the first six months of the current year we have 339 potential victims that are subject of ongoing human trafficking investigations,” she added, explaining that most exploiters use social networks to lure and control victims. Traffickers are thus able to keep track of their slaves all the time.

“The British Government takes this problem very seriously,” the UK Deputy Head of Mission to Bulgaria Lynne Charles said at the news conference. She reminded that everybody shares the responsibility for the fight against forced labour.

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