Standard Operating Procedures for ADULT Victims of Trafficking


Ministry of the Interior (MoI)

The safe return of trafficked persons to the region of origin is carried out by the national and territorial structures of MoI. MoI authorities assist in the safe return of foreign nationals based on international operational police cooperation.

The competent MoI units gather information related to trafficking in human beings and report it to the investigative authorities in line with the Criminal Procedure Code.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)

Consular officers coordinate and organise the safe return of the trafficked person in the country or inform about the care and support for the person in the receiving country. MFA also provides support through the competent authorities issuing travel documents.

Social Assistance Agency / Social Assistance Directorates

When a Bulgarian victim of trafficking returns to their region of origin, a contact is established with the respective Social Assistance Directorate to provide social support and social services.

Victims of trafficking are entitled to financial support (lump-sum) as per the Social Assistance Act Implementing Regulations. They need to meet the requirements for the assistance. Social benefits for victims of trafficking and for the other Bulgarian citizens are provided as per one’s permanent address and social services – as per one’s current address.

The victims of trafficking who wish to use social services go through the following procedure:

1. The person submits an application as per their current address to:

  • Director of the Social Assistance Directorate – when the services are state delegated activities;
  • Mayor of the municipality – for the social services which are municipal activities;
  • Managing authority – when the service provider is a natural person registered under the Commerce Act.

2. Based on the application and the documents appended, a social assessment is performed of the person’s needs for social services which is reflected in a preliminary needs assessment (PNA).

3. Social workers accommodate the victims of trafficking to use social services which are state delegated activities – accommodation in a crisis centre for victims of trafficking (or victims of violence, or accommodation centre for pregnant women, in the case of high risk) according to the available resources in the region. To ensure accommodation, the SAD Director or the Mayor of the municipality issues a PNA based on the social report and informs the Director of the respective shelter to expect the person. Upon accommodation, the victim of trafficking needs to present a set of medical documents certifying their health status.

Employment Agency / Employment Office Directorates

Work is performed with every person registered at an Employment Office on an individual basis. An individual job search plan is devised. Employment services are provided in line with the plan: information about job vacancies as well as programs and measures to preserve and encourage employment; help to obtain information and find a job; psychological support; career orientation; inclusion of adults in training and in employment programs and measures; training scholarships; funds for transportation and accommodation during the training.

The registration of victims of trafficking at the Employment Office Directorates is a condition for the receipt of the monthly benefits as per the Social Assistance Act Implementing Regulations The deadline to register at Employment Office Directorate to enable the provision of monthly benefits is 3 months as of the person’s return to the country, as of termination of the stay at the centre for temporary accommodation or as of the final completion of the criminal proceedings (see Article 10, paragraph 5 of the SAA IR).

Ministry of Education and Science (MES)

It provides trafficked persons with access to adult literacy programs and to evening classes and independent forms of training.

Ministry of Health

In the long term, the trafficked person benefits from the services of the health system as per the terms and procedure applied to other citizens. The Regional Health Inspections (RHI) provide logistical support for access to medical assistance to victims of trafficking.

Specialised centres and shelters with associated social services

Crisis centres and shelters with associated social services offer long-term counselling and psychotherapeutic programmes for social inclusion and job seeking. The involvement of trafficked persons in programmes for long-term psychological and social support and re-integration is upon their request. They can be referred by other professionals working in counselling services based on the assessment of the needs for long-term social rehabilitation or psychotherapy as a method to overcome the effects of psychological trauma and adapt to the social environment. After the end of the first stage – the crisis intervention – each client is informed about the possibilities to receive psychological and social support.

This service is provided by psychologists, psychotherapists and social workers.
Upon their inclusion in a service, trafficked persons need to register for it in accordance with the rules of the respective social service. In the course of the work, the documentation on the case includes: initial request, individual needs assessment, care plan, description of the progress of the work, conclusion of the case.

The information about all client cases is confidential. It is kept in the form of a personal file. If there are indications of a high risk, confidentiality may be violated by the counsellor.
Upon return to the country/region of origin, the trafficked person is informed about all available institutions and social services relevant to the person’s specific needs. If necessary and with the express consent of the client, the lead social worker may file an official application for assistance in the specific case.

Training and qualification centres

Licenced centres for career orientation, training to acquire professional and work skills, qualification and re-qualification for better opportunities in the labour market.

Health without Borders Association/ Centre for Sexual Health

The centre offers free medical examinations and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and testing for HIV/AIDS.

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

The organisations provide, in a free of charge, anonymous and completely confidential manner, services related to sexual health such as mobile medical offices offering tests for HIV, hepatitis B and C and syphilis, consultations with doctors (obstetrician, dermatologist, venereologist).

NGOs providing legal services

NGOs provide free legal services (consultations and procedural representation) for victims of trafficking within their programs funded from state and other funds.

National Legal Aid Office

The Bureau cooperates with the investigative authorities and the court which need to familiarise the victim with the right to free legal aid and refer the victim to it.