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IJM signs collaboration agreement in Bulgaria

IJM and the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (NCCTHB) for Bulgaria recently signed a collaboration agreement aimed at preventing, reducing and detecting trafficking in Bulgaria.

The agreement is part of IJM’s response to the Ukraine crisis, funded through the U.S. Department of State - Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

“With the large population of Ukrainian refugees displaced from their homes and families because of the war, the risk of human trafficking has significantly increased.

“IJM is looking forward to collaborating with the NCCTHB for Bulgaria to support survivors and ensure accountability,” said Shawn Kohl, Director for IJM’s European Anti-Trafficking Programme (pictured).

Traffickers are known to exploit vulnerable populations from Eastern Europe. There are an estimated 2 million people trapped in slavery in Europe today.

Following the invasion of Ukraine, millions of people – mainly women and children - fled the country. Criminal networks are known to operate in neighbouring countries, leaving refugees vulnerable to trafficking.

As the 2022 UNODC GLOTiP report plainly states: “War and conflict offer hunting grounds for traffickers.”

The report anticipates a marked increase in the number of Ukrainian victims of trafficking in Europe as the number of refugees seeking asylum grows.

The agreement between IJM and NCCTHB in Bulgaria will focus on protecting refugees who have fled Ukraine, as well as Bulgarians and Romanians who are at risk of trafficking.

“Through collaboration with partners like IJM, we will easily identify the challenges and provide an adequate response to the evolving trends in this crime. It is important to unite our strengths,” said Daniela Saveklieva, Secretary of NCCTHB

Since launching its European Anti-Trafficking Programme in 2019, IJM has assisted over 126 survivors of human trafficking - most of them women and men from Romania.

IJM has also trained over 1,000 criminal justice actors and community responders, and has seen over 40 convictions for human trafficking offences.

IJM is looking forward to the opportunity to extend support, expertise and resources to Bulgaria.

How does IJM help stop trafficking in Europe? >>

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