Corruption and trafficking in women. The case of Bulgaria.

Corruption is believed to be one of the key instruments adopted by organised criminal groups to avoid detection and obstruct counter-trafficking efforts. Although the use of corruption is often mentioned along with human trafficking, few studies have empirically explored the factors and mechanisms behind this nexus. The current report provides new insights in this little explored area, drawing on a study carried out in Bulgaria (identified as an important source country) as part of the project ANTICORRP, financed under the FP7 Programme of the European Commission. The study explores key aspects of the link between human trafficking and corruption, especially focusing on the role of corruption in avoiding prosecution, obfuscating investigations and court trials already underway and minimising punishments where aforementioned efforts have failed. The research findings shed light on the following key aspects of the link between corruption and trafficking: 1) the most prominent corruption channels and the actors involved in protecting members of organised crime from persecution; 2) the corruption reach of different organised criminal groups; 3) main factors facilitating the emergence of corruption schemes (legislation, socio-economic factors, ties between those working in black markets and the influential leaders of now legal companies, heirs of criminal holdings, etc.). The impact that corruption linked to trafficking has on victims is also addressed and recommendations for tackling the problem are advanced. The methodology involved analysis of media reports, analysis of court cases and in-depth semi-structured interviews with NGO practitioners, law enforcement officers and prosecutors.

Tags: , ,