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Mariya Gabriel: Combating human trafficking requires a coordinated approach at national and European level

14 November 2023 News

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mariya Gabriel met EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Diane Schmitt, who was on an official visit to Bulgaria.

The two discussed the current situation in Bulgaria, the challenges and the necessary actions for the implementation of the EU Strategy on Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings (2021—2025) and Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims.

‘Trafficking in human beings is a serious crime that has no gender or age — it affects women, men and children. It is a crime against the person, freedom and dignity of the human person. Trafficking in human beings remains a serious threat in the EU despite the progress made in recent years’, the Deputy Prime Minister said.

The focus of the discussion between the Deputy Prime Minister and the European Coordinator was the need to raise awareness of society and specific vulnerable groups, the protection of victims of trafficking in human beings and law enforcement cooperation. Mariya Gabriel also stressed the internet as a tool often used by traffickers to attract victims and the need for better awareness of the dangers online.

‘The way forward for greater effectiveness in combating trafficking in human beings requires a coordinated approach involving law enforcement, local and national authorities and the private sector. It is important that we focus on prevention, prosecution of traffickers, protection of victims and support for survivors. Coordination at national and European level and the commitment to work together are the basis for achieving better results in the fight against trafficking in human beings’, Mariya Gabriel emphasised.

During his visit, Diane Schmitt will also meet with members of the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, the institutions involved in the issue, as well as representatives of NGOs in Bulgaria.

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