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Bulgaria: Status of Action against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Posted on Feb 3, 2013

Despite global financial crisis, Bulgaria is demonstrating a good recovery with a 2.2% rise in GDP in 2011. Yet, the country still faces significant economic and social challenges many of which disproportionately affect ethnic minorities and children, in particular those of Romani origin who comprise 4.9% of the population. Romani communities in Bulgaria have faced decades of social, political and economic exclusion. This marginalisation has left Romani children especially vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation, most notably trafficking. Children that have been identified as most susceptible to commercial sexual exploitation in Bulgaria are those who live on the streets or in state-run institutions, the majority of whom are Romani children. The commercial sexual exploitation of children remains a pressing concern in Bulgaria, facilitated largely by the elimination of visa restrictions for travel (following accession to the European Union) and the rapidly increasing ease of access to the Internet and other new technologies. The Bulgarian government has taken significant efforts to combat the sexual exploitation of children over the last decade, especially with regards to trafficking for sexual purposes. However, by ending its practice of addressing the commercial sexual exploitation of children in a separate National Plan of Action, Bulgaria has demonstrated a de-prioritisation of this issue. Click here to read the full report.