Standard Operating Procedures for ADULT Victims of Trafficking


Ministry of the Interior (MoI)

Officers of Directorates General Counteracting Organised Crime, Border Police and Migration identify trafficked persons as part of their functional duties. The identification is performed for people who are proved or presumed to be trafficked persons, people who have identified themselves as such, or people who have been referred as such by other institutions or organisations.

During the initial contact or after the identification of trafficked persons, the officers of DG Counteracting Organised Crime, DG Border Police and Migration Directorate make a risk assessment to establish the danger of re-trafficking or possible violent retaliation against the victims or their families and relatives. At the same time, they perform a needs assessment with a view to providing emergency medical, psychological and legal aid, as well as determining whether it is necessary to accommodate the trafficked person in a crisis centre or a shelter. If it so, DG Counteracting Organised Crime, DG Border Police and Migration Directorate refer Bulgarian or foreign trafficked persons to the respective service providers.

Social Assistance Agency/Social Assistance Directorates (SAD)

Trafficked persons can be identified by SAD staff in the process of active information finding about people from vulnerable groups (socially underprivileged and users of other social services). After identifying a trafficked person, social workers make a needs assessment in view of the SAD resources and provide information and consultation about the possibilities of receiving social assistance or other type of social services. Social workers refer trafficked persons to state delegated social services – accommodation in a crisis centre or centre for temporary accommodation available in the municipality or region. A preliminary needs assessment is carried out in relation to the accommodation in line with the Social Services Act. At the time of the accommodation, the trafficked person must provide a number of medical documents certifying their health state as per the requirements of the social service.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)

Trafficked persons can be identified by police attachés or, in the absence of such, by consulate officials when they appear at the consulate service. This information can also come ex officio from local authorities or non-governmental organisations. Police attachés or, in the absence of such, consulate officials assess the risk and the immediate needs in cooperation with the competent authorities in the country of destination and the respective Bulgarian competent authorities.

Crisis centres (within the meaning of the Social Services Act) and shelters with the NCCTH

Persons are referred to (different types of) crisis centres when they are identified as victims of trafficking and if they meet the user profile based on other criteria such as pregnancy, homelessness or risk. Persons are referred to shelters when there are sufficient grounds to believe that they have undergone trafficking. The assessment of the risk and immediate needs is performed during the first interview with the victim. This may take place outside the crisis centre/shelter when the social worker meets the victim upon the victim’s return or has been called by the MoI authorities which identified the victim. In other cases, the risk assessment is performed on the territory of the crisis centre/shelter when the victim is accommodated or when the victim is able to talk. A support and safety plan is drawn up. Crisis centres/shelters have a data base of organisations which provide assistance and various additional services. Referral is made with the victim’s consent and in line with the victim’s personal needs following the procedures described above. The information is recorded in the support plan.


The identification of trafficked persons can be done when a call is received from trafficked persons, their relatives, specialists or citizens who come across this problem. The Hotline works 24 hours a day. The calls are free from within the country. Each call is registered. An assessment of the risk and the immediate needs is made during the telephone conversation by asking as detailed and specific questions as possible, including where the victim is at the moment, where they are calling from, whether they are threatened at the moment, how much time they have for the conversation, whether someone is listening to the conversation, etc. In cases of trafficking and if there is high risk for the victim, as much information as possible is gathered to be provided to the respective authorities. Hotlines have a database of organisations providing different services (psychological, social, medical, legal, etc.) in Bulgaria and abroad. Depending on the identified needs, the trafficked person or their family are referred to an appropriate organisation and informed fully about the type of assistance they can receive there and the access to services.

International Organisation for Migration (IOM)

Victims of trafficking are identified upon signals about cases of trafficking received from Bulgarian and/or foreign competent authorities, including MoI, State Agency for Child Protection, Bulgarian embassies and consulates abroad, international organisations, Bulgarian and foreign NGOs. These signals are received in the IOM mission in Bulgaria as well as in all other offices of the organisation throughout the world. Upon receiving information about a trafficked person, IOM initiates a standardised procedure to assess the risk and immediate needs. This procedure includes cooperation with all people and institutions connected with a specific case. IOM develops an initial re-integration plan that serves as a basis for the start of the victim’s protection and re-integration process in Bulgaria. If necessary, IOM refers the victims to services provided by partner organisations.

All measures related to a specific case are documented by IOM in hard copy and electronically and are preserved according to IOM international standards and requirements.

NGOs providing specialised services to prostituting men and women. Field social workers

Referral is a core measure of initial prevention implemented by field work teams. It targets both all field clients in general and specifically clients which are at obvious risk of being involved in trafficking or who report such risks themselves. Referral takes place primarily through information materials disseminated in the field which could contain information about the phenomenon of trafficking, contact details and information about services and organisations in Bulgaria and abroad which could provide assistance.