In her report, the Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution, child pornography and other child sexual abuse material, explores issues relating to the sale and sexual exploitation of children in Bulgaria in the light of international human rights norms and standards.
On the basis of the information gathered prior to, during and after her visit, the Special Rapporteur highlights legislative initiatives, the institutional framework and child protection policies implemented to combat and prevent the phenomena, and measures taken to provide care for and ensure the recovery and reintegration of child victims.
The Special Rapporteur makes recommendations to strengthen efforts to prevent and eradicate the sale and sexual exploitation of children.
The Special Rapporteur welcomes the legislative, institutional and policy measures taken to improve the child protection system and conclude the deinstitutionalization process. She also notes the efforts made to combat trafficking in children and the progress achieved regarding unaccompanied and asylum-seeking children. Significant work still remains to put prevention, care, recovery and integration at the forefront of child protection policies, dedicate adequate resources to
tackle and eradicate the root causes and risk factors of the sale and sexual exploitation of the most vulnerable children, and provide them with appropriate care, recovery and rehabilitation. There is also a need to accelerate the reform of the juvenile justice system, improve procedures for identifying and referring children and ensure coordination within child protection services.
Child protection has been largely driven by fragmented reforms and a poorly coordinated child protection system. The care and recovery services provided to child victims suffer from insufficient funding, inadequate staffing and training, lack of
oversight of performance and poorly collected and poorly centralized data. Other discrepancies pertain to insufficient funding of child protection systems focusing on children at risk, a lack of specialized support services and of a workforce trained to deal with cases of sexual abuse, and a lack of common understanding among various stakeholders on the provision of protection measures, care and recovery. There are concerns regarding the lack of child-friendly investigation procedures, leading to revictimization; the weak capacity to detect and report cases; and the inadequate protection of children in residential care. Traditional gender roles, the lack of a gender perspective in various interventions and a reluctance to report sexual abuse committed in the inner circle of trust contribute to low reporting.
Full report (PDF, 581 KB)