Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Act (2003)




Promulgated, The State Gazette, No. 46/20.05.2003

[Legislationline Note: This Act is of 2003 (year of promulgation and coming into force). Only the date of coming into force of the budget provision is extended 01/01/2004. This law has been amended:

    in 2005 - amend. SG. 86/28 Oct 2005 - in order to reflect changes in the numeration of articles in the new Bulgarian Criminal Procedural Code of 2005, to which article 31 of the law refers

    in 2008 - amend. SG. 33/28 March 2008 – in order to include the membership of the commission the State Agency for National Security]

Chapter One



Article 2

The following units shall be set up to accomplish the activities and objectives in Article 1:

1. National and local commissions for combating trafficking in human beings;

2. Shelters for temporary housing of victims of trafficking;

3. Centres for protection and support of victims of trafficking.


Chapter Three


Article 9

(1) The Shelters for Temporary Housing of Victims of Trafficking shall be set up:

1. By the National Commission based on a proposal made by the Local Commissions or the municipalities;

2. By individuals and non-profit legal entities who provide shelter to victims of trafficking and who have been entered into a National Commission Register under terms and conditions determined by the regulations in Article 12.

(2) The Shelters shall accommodate persons who claim to be victims of trafficking. They shall be accommodated for up to 10 days by their personal request under terms and conditions determined by the regulations in Article 12.

(3) The accommodation period in Paragraph 2 may be extended by another 30 days based on a proposal by the Local Commissions, the pre-trial proceedings authorities or the court, as requested by the sheltered individual.

Article 10

The Shelters for Temporary Housing shall:

1. Ensure standard living and sanitary conditions;

2. Provide sheltered persons with food and medications;

3. Make available emergency medical and psychological services;

4. Assist the sheltered persons in establishing contact with their relatives as well as with the competent agencies and organisations.

Article 11

(1) The Local Commissions shall set up Centres for Protection and Support of Victims of Trafficking, hereinafter referred to as “Centres”.

(2) The Centres shall:

1. Provide simple-language information regarding the administrative and judicial procedures that administer victim support and protection;

2. Ensure specialised psychological and medical services;

3. Facilitate victims’ re-integration in the family and the social environment.

(3) The necessary funds for operation of the Centres shall be provided by the National Commission budget.

Article 12

(1) The terms for setting up Shelters under Article 9, Paragraph 1, and Centres under Article 11, the organisation of their work, their management and control shall be subject to regulations adopted by the Council of Ministers.

(2) The necessary funds for operation of the Shelters in Article 9, Paragraph 1(1) shall be provided from the National Commission budget.


Chapter Five


Article 15

The bodies of state, the commissions, centres and shelters, within their competencies, are obliged to provide protection and support to the individuals who have become victims of trafficking.

Article 16

The diplomatic and consular missions of the Republic of Bulgaria abroad shall support and assist the Bulgarian nationals who have become victims of trafficking to return to Bulgaria.

Article 17

Consular offices with the Bulgarian Embassies abroad, in co-operation with Ministry of the Interior authorities, shall assist for speedy and timely issuance of identity documents to Bulgarian nationals who have become victims of trafficking.


Article 21

Upon receipt of information about a child who has become a victim of trafficking, the bodies in Article 2 shall inform immediately the State Agency for Child Protection, which shall take the relevant measures under the Child Protection Act.

Article 22

Children who have become victims of trafficking shall be accommodated in separate premises from adults.

Article 23

Children who have become victims of trafficking shall be provided with education in state or municipal schools in the country, in compliance with the Public Education Act.


Article 25

Individuals who have become victims of trafficking and have declared their willingness to collaborate for disclosure of the trafficking offenders shall be granted special protection status for the time of the criminal proceedings, including:

1. Permission to foreign nationals for long-term stay in the country;

2. Extension of the accommodation period in the shelters.


Article 29

The period for accommodation in shelters shall be extended in accordance with the timescale determined in the writ under Article 27 hereof, and it may not exceed the deadline of the criminal proceedings.