The identification of foreign trafficked persons can be performed at every stage of the work with them. First, they can be identified by the Border Police and the Prosecutor’s Office and later, by the institutions related to their residence in the country which exercise physical control over them such as the Migration Directorate or the State Agency for Refugees.
Every foreign citizen residing within the territory of Bulgaria without permission or who entered the country illegally receives an initial status of illegal resident. The person is detained and criminal proceedings are initiated against them.
If the person files a request for protection before any state institution, the request is immediately forwarded to the State Agency for Refugees. Then the person receives the status of asylum seeker. In this case, the criminal proceedings are terminated and the person is referred to the structures of the State Agency for Refugees. No contact is made with the diplomatic representation of the country of origin in order to verify the identity of the person (a specific prohibition under Article 63, paragraph 4 and paragraph 5 of the Asylum and Refugees Act).
In all other cases, the person keeps the status of illegal resident. The person may be imposed coercive administrative penalties such as deportation, a ban to enter the country, or forced accommodation in a Special Home for Temporary Accommodation of Foreigners (SHTAF) with the Migration Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior (located in the Busmantzi residential district of Sofia). The diplomatic representative of the country of origin is contacted to verify or confirm the identity of the person.
When a foreign citizen is identified as a victim of trafficking, that person is entitled to all measures laid down in the CTHBA and support in accordance with the NRM standard operating procedures. In this case, the status of illegal resident is revoked and the person receives a status of a foreigner with long-term residence in accordance with the CTHBA (FRBA, Article 24, paragraph 17).
In cases the trafficked person is a foreign national, translation/interpretation must be provided. It is assigned to interpreters who have been acquainted with the crime of trafficking in persons in advance, instructed to maintain a tolerant attitude towards the victim, and observe strict confidentiality as regards any information shared.