Bulgaria Issues - 2023


Disputes - international


Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 22,226 (Syria) (mid-year 2022); 162,935 (Ukraine) (as of 27 June 2023)

stateless persons: 1,129 (2022)

note: 91,531 estimated refugee and migrant arrivals (January 2015-May 2023); Bulgaria is predominantly a transit country

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List — Bulgaria does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so; officials prosecuted significantly more suspected traffickers, ordered restitution, and drafted an annual national program with increased funding for combating trafficking and protecting victims; however, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts to improve its anti-trafficking capacity; authorities investigated and convicted significantly fewer traffickers, the fewest since the government began reporting trafficking data; courts continued to issue suspended sentences for most convicted traffickers; victim identification and assistance data remained unreliable, making it difficult to accurately assess trafficking; authorities penalized victims for crimes traffickers compelled them to commit; lack of resources, legal authority, and training impeded law enforcement; corruption in law enforcement and the judiciary hindered progress, and alleged complicity in trafficking crimes persisted; therefore, Bulgaria was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List (2022)

trafficking profile: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Bulgaria, and traffickers exploit victims from Bulgaria abroad; Bulgaria remains one of the primary source countries of human trafficking in the EU; vulnerable groups include the unemployed, children in residential care, individuals working in commercial sex, and members of the Romani community; most victims are individuals with disabilities and those with mental health conditions; Bulgarian women and children are exploited in sex trafficking throughout Western Europe and Bulgaria; Bulgarians of Turkish ethnicity and Romani women and girls account for most of the sex trafficking victims in Bulgaria; traffickers typically exploit Bulgarian women and girls from poorer regions and increasingly use the internet or social media to recruit victims; family- or clan-based organizations and independent traffickers are overwhelmingly of Romani ethnicity and usually know the victims, who are also Roma; traffickers exploit Bulgarian men and boys in forced labor across Europe, predominantly in agriculture, construction, and the service sector; Romani children are exploited in forced labor, particularly begging and pick-pocketing in Austria, France, and Sweden; child trafficking cases reportedly are increasing; children are exploited in small family-owned shops, textile production, restaurants, and construction businesses, and some face sexual exploitation in government-run institutions; Ukrainian refugees are highly vulnerable to trafficking (2022)

Illicit drugs

source country for amphetamine tablets

NOTE: The information regarding Bulgaria on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Bulgaria 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Bulgaria 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 10 Nov 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.